52nd Congressional Voters Cross Party Lines in Mayoral Election

The 52nd congressional district stretches from Poway west to Del Mar and then down the coast to Coronado. A slice of its voters also live in the city of San Diego.

The district is known for its fairly even numbers of Republicans, Democrats and Independents, and when when it comes to political tastes, many don’t appear to mind crossing party lines.

While they’re still counting ballots in the congressional district because it’s too close to call, inewsource analyzed the unofficial returns in precincts that overlap the congressional district and the city. We found that nearly two-thirds of the precincts that favored Democrat Scott Peters favored — Republican Carl DeMaio for mayor.

A lot of those voters were in neighborhoods such as La Jolla, Bay Park, Bay Ho, North Clairemont and University City south of UCSD.

It probably stands to reason precincts that favored Republican Brian Bilbray within the city limits almost perfectly favored DeMaio as well.

Here’s the breakdown for the non-vote-by-mail precincts:

- Of the 189 precincts Scott Peters carried, DeMaio won 120.
- Of the 157 precincts Brian Bilbray won, DeMaio carried 156 — almost a perfect match.
- Filner carried only 69 of the precincts Peters won, and one of the precincts Bilbray won.

So why did Peters do so well in areas that wanted to elect DeMaio?

Political scientist Carl Luna says this is a textbook case of all politics being local. Peters served two terms on the San Diego City Council representing the first district, which included some of the neighborhoods that turned out for him in the election.

“When you have a choice between voting for somebody you know and kind of thinks like you, or somebody you don’t know that you’re not quite sure how they’re going to think, you go with the guy you know,” Luna said. “And Scott Peters was a known quantity to many of his voters. And Carl DeMaio, coming from the city government, was a known quantity.”

Luna also said Bilbray’s campaign might not have gotten as much mileage out of some attack ads as they’d hoped.

“The (National Republican Congressional Committee) ad about Scott Peters’ performance on the city council probably played well in areas outside of (Peters’) council district, but obviously did not sway voters within it.”

As for mayor-elect Bob Filner, a lifelong Democrat?

Luna said, “Bob Filner comes from South Bay, he has no real play in that part of the city.”

We’ll let you know if the trend holds once all the ballots in the 52nd are counted.

To view election results through Nov. 7 for the precincts that fall in the City of San Diego and the 52nd Congressional District, click on the map below.

- inewsource and KPBS Investigations Desk

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