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Gonzalez, Castaneda Ramp Up Campaigns

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A special election in San Diego's 80th Assembly District is set for next week between two Democrats: Lorena Gonzalez and Steve Castaneda.

Above: Steve Castaneda, former Chula Vista Councilman running for 80th Assembly District seat

Over the weekend, both candidates attended Dia de San Ysidro Festival. Gonzalez also walked precincts and spoke one-on-one with voters during several neighborhood gatherings.

Gonzalez is largely considered the front-runner in the race and a powerhouse in San Diego County politics. During her tenure as the secretary-treasurer of the San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council she pushed for the City of San Diego's Living Wage Ordinance and helped come up with an agreement on the expansion of the San Diego Convention Center. Gonzalez has also received endorsements from a variety of local and state officials.

Castaneda began his career as a City of San Diego Police Officer. He spent the last eight years on the Chula Vista City Council where he helped push for pension reform and approval of the Bayfront Master Plan.

Castaneda, who calls himself a fiscally conservative Democrat, currently runs a transportation consulting company.

The way the 80th Assembly District seat became vacant is the story of political musical chairs.

First, Bob Filner retired from his Congressional district to become San Diego Mayor. Then, Juan Vargas won that Congressional district and left his seat in the State Senate. Earlier this year, Ben Hueso won Vargas's old 40th district Senate seat, leaving the 80th assembly district seat vacant.

Now, Gonzalez and Castaneda are vying to represent the 80th district, which includes Chula Vista, National City and the San Diego neighborhoods of Barrio Logan, City Heights and San Ysidro.

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