Get local, investigative reporting in your inbox.
Political action committees and other outside organizations are spending heavily in the San Diego City Council races that will be decided Nov. 6, especially in Republican incumbent Lorie Zapf’s District 2. That race could potentially change the balance of power on the council.
Why this matters
Many different sources of money can back a politician’s run for office. By knowing where that money is coming from, voters can learn about the priorities and connections of candidates on the ballot.
Zapf is facing a strong challenge from Democrat Jen Campbell to represent the coastal district that includes Point Loma, Mission Beach, Ocean Beach and Bay Park. If Campbell wins, it likely would give Democrats a 6-3 majority on the council.
That could be a problem for Republican Mayor Kevin Faulconer because the six Democrats could override his vetoes if they vote together. It’s also an explanation for the heavy spending in the District 2 race.
Zapf has outraised Campbell so far, bringing in more than $500,000 with more than $245,000 in the bank as of Sept. 22. Campbell has raised almost $253,000 and had almost $43,000 in the bank as of Sept. 22.
Highlights of outside spending in the race as of Tuesday include:
- The Coastal Communities Supporting Lorie Zapf for Council 2018, a political action committee funded by the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Lincoln Club, has spent more than $90,000 on Zapf for the general election.
- The Lincoln Club spent $80,000 opposing Campbell.
- The Public Integrity League Opposed to Jen Campbell for City Council 2018, a PAC funded by The Lincoln Club, spent $40,000 on TV ads opposing Campbell.
- The San Diego County Republican Party spent more than $15,000 on Zapf.
- The San Diego County Democratic Party spent more than $108,000 this year on mailers and field expenses supporting Campbell.
- A PAC called San Diegans Against Hate opposing Lorie Zapf for City Council 2018 spent more than $86,000 this year on mailers, research and polling opposing Zapf. The committee is funded by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and Scott Borden, who co-owns the restaurant group ETC Adventures, which runs the Uptown Tavern in Hillcrest.
District 4: Myrtle Cole and Monica Montgomery
In the race for District 4, which includes Encanto and Oak Park, Council President Myrtle Cole has outraised challenger and fellow Democrat Monica Montgomery.
Cole had raised more than $161,000 and had almost $22,000 in the bank as of Sept. 22. Montgomery had raised almost $82,000 and had almost $23,000 in the bank as of Sept. 22.
Although both are Democrats, the county Democratic Party is spending heavily to support Cole. The party has spent almost $68,000 this year to support her, including a $10,700 contribution to Cole’s campaign.
In addition, San Diego Works, a PAC funded by the San Diego Imperial Counties Labor Council, spent more than $91,000 on Cole, and the San Diego Police Officers Association’s PAC spent almost $3,900.
District 6: Chris Cate and Tommy Hough
In District 6, which includes Kearny Mesa and Mira Mesa, Republican incumbent Chris Cate has far outraised his Democratic challenger, Tommy Hough.
Cate had raised more than $450,000 and had more than $151,000 in the bank as of Sept. 22, while Hough had raised almost $64,000 and had almost $5,000 in the bank as of Sept. 22.
The county Democratic Party has spent more than $24,000 this year supporting Hough, including a $10,700 contribution to his campaign.
District 8: Antonio Martinez and Vivian Moreno
In District 8, which includes Barrio Logan and San Ysidro, two Democrats are competing to replace termed-out Democrat David Alvarez.
As of Sept. 22, Vivian Moreno had outraised her opponent, Antonio Martinez. Moreno had raised almost $210,000 and had about $35,000. Martinez had raised more than $127,000 and had almost $32,000 in the bank.
The county Democratic Party has spent more than $9,000 on mailers and online ads supporting Martinez, and gave $10,700 to his campaign.
Protect Neighborhood Services Now, a PAC funded by the San Diego Municipal Employees Association — the city’s largest union — spent about $8,500 supporting Moreno.
NOTE: inewsource data reporter Jill Castellano contributed to this report. inewsource is an independent nonprofit partner of KPBS.
Aug. 10, 2018
The November general election is three months away, but fundraising and campaign spending are picking up in San Diego’s City Council races.
We’ll let you know when big things happen.