Skip to main content

Former Councilman, Mayoral Candidate Carl DeMaio To Run For Congress

Carl DeMaio, who ran an unsuccessful bid for mayor, during a campaign event i...

Photo by Brad Racino / inewsource

Above: Carl DeMaio, who ran an unsuccessful bid for mayor, during a campaign event in November 2012.

Former San Diego City Councilman and mayoral candidate Carl DeMaio today formally announced his candidacy for the 2014 race for the 52nd Congressional District.

— Former San Diego City Councilman and mayoral candidate Carl DeMaio today formally announced his candidacy for the 2014 race for the 52nd Congressional District.

The Orange County native hopes to unseat freshman Congressman Scott Peters, D-San Diego, also a former San Diego City Councilman.

DeMaio told KPBS he'd been considering the run over the last several months after talking to his supporters.

"These are people who believe in our reform agenda," he said. "San Diegans who saw how it works here in San Diego. To save the city from bankruptcy, it took bold ideas and took a coalition of people from across the political spectrum, and they think they need that in Washington and I agree.

"Congress is broken. There’s partisanship and infighting and divisiveness and we don’t see bold solutions. People aren’t looking at how to solve problems, in some ways they like to keep the problems going so they have something to run on and labels to throw around."

DeMaio said if elected, he'd focus on balancing the budget and improving the economy.

"We have got to get the federal budget under control," he said. "People talk about it, but few reforms are actually introduced to solve the problem."

DeMaio said he would fix the federal budget by "looking at every single program on its individual basis to look at ways to reduce waste and improve performance."

"So every federal program will be on the table, just like I took every program and put it on the table in my Roadmap to Recovery," he said.

“Just like I tackled the San Diego budget, just like when people thought we couldn’t balance it without a massive tax increase or service cuts, we produced a plan that actually did that, and we got a lot of those reforms done,” he said.

DeMaio said one of the main pieces of legislation he will campaign on is called "Fix Congress First."

It proposes to "require Congress to live under the same laws that the rest of us do" and apply open government reforms to the Congress, DeMaio said. He said Congress should not be exempt from the Freedom of Information Act, must fulfill public records act requests and should post legislation online 72 hours before voting.

DeMaio added that Congress also must follow insider trading rules.

"We need to be looking at putting Congress on the same level as the rest of us who work hard and pay taxes," he said. "There shouldn’t be special status given to members of Congress."

DeMaio, 38, emailed a statement at 10 a.m. Thursday to more than 12,000 supporters and announced his decision via postings on social media websites.

San Diego CityBeat reported on Monday that DeMaio was updating his website to include issues with more national focus.

In confirming his long-rumored plans to run for Congress, DeMaio, who is openly gay, called for his party to focus on economic issues.

"I see myself as a 'new generation Republican' who wants to challenge the party to focus on pocket-book, economic and quality of life issues in a more positive and inclusive way, rather than issues that are frankly none of the government's business in the first place,'' he said.

DeMaio served one four-year term on the City Council, beginning in 2008, before running unsuccessfully against Democrat Bob Filner in San Diego's mayoral race last year.

His Congressional opponent Peters, 54, served two four-year terms on the council from 2000 to 2008.

Upon terming out, Peters served on the Port of San Diego Board of Commissioners.

In a tight race that wasn't decided until about a week after voters went to the polls, Peters edged out Republican Brian Bilbray, R-Solana Beach, for the 52nd Congressional District seat last fall.

The district, which represents mostly coastal and coastal-inland North County, has traditionally always gone to a conservative. But redistricting divided the voting block last year in thirds between Democrats, Republicans and independents, paving the way for a closer race.

A KPBS/inewsource analysis last year found that in the 52nd District, nearly two-thirds of the precincts that favored Peters also favored DeMaio for mayor.

Overlap Between San Diego Mayoral Election and the 52nd Congressional

DeMaio & Bilbray DeMaio & Peters Filner & Peters Filner & Bilbray

Sources: SanGIS, San Diego County Registrar of Voters


San Diego News Now podcast branding

San Diego news; when you want it, where you want it. Get local stories on politics, education, health, environment, the border and more. New episodes are ready weekday mornings. Hosted by Anica Colbert and produced by KPBS, San Diego and the Imperial County's NPR and PBS station.

  • Need help keeping up with the news that matters most? Get the day's top news — ranging from local to international — straight to your inbox each weekday morning.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Photo of Claire Trageser

Claire Trageser
Investigative Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksAs a member of the KPBS investigative team, my job is to hold the powerful in San Diego County accountable. I've done in-depth investigations on political campaigns, police officer misconduct and neighborhood quality of life issues.

Want more KPBS news?
Find us on Twitter and Facebook, or sign up for our newsletters.

To view PDF documents, Download Acrobat Reader.