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It’s Apparently Not Too Soon For 2016 Election Season In San Diego


It’s only been four months since the November 2014 election and the GOP is already targeting Democratic Rep. Scott Peters for defeat next year.

It’s only been four months since the November 2014 election and the GOP is already targeting San Diego Rep. Scott Peters for defeat next year.

The Democrat narrowly won re-election to his second term by besting Republican Carl DeMaio, who is a former San Diego city councilman, as is Peters. More than $10 million was spent in the fight to win the 52nd Congressional District seat.

Photo credit: Photo Courtesy of Tommy Knepper

Jacquie Atkinson in an undated headshot.

Congressman Scott Peters in an undated photo. Peters represents the 52nd Congressional District.

52nd Congressional District

Geography: Runs north from Coronado to La Jolla, and then east to include Carmel Valley, Scripps Ranch, Poway and Rancho Bernardo.

Party breakdown: 33.3% Republican, 32.1% Democrat, 31.3% independent

Source: California Secretary of State

In the past few weeks, both the Democratic and Republican congressional committees named Peters as vulnerable in the 2016 election. That's not a surprise. His district is evenly split among Republicans, Democrats and independent voters.

One potential Republican challenger for Peters’ seat stepped forward last week: openly gay Marine veteran Jacquie Atkinson.

Political consultant Tommy Knepper, who was DeMaio's campaign last year, said she is “considering a run.”

“She’s meeting with community leaders, movers and shakers, people who are upset with the current Congress and want to see a change," Knepper said.

He said Atkinson would decide whether to run in the next three to five weeks.

As for DeMaio's plans, Knepper said, "As far as I know, he's not running."

DeMaio didn't respond to a request for comment on whether he's considering another run for Congress.

Atkinson was also named by Tony Krvaric, chairman of the Republican Party of San Diego County, as a potential candidate for the state Assembly’s 78th District, running for termed-out Democrat Toni Atkins’ seat.

Democrats Sarah Boot, a former prosecutor, and Ed Harris, a lifeguard and former city councilman, have announced they're running for Atkins' seat.

Although Atkinson originally talked about running in the 78th District, Knepper said, "that's off the table now." He said she is focused now on deciding whether to run for Congress.

“Everything that she does is giving back to our country, our district, our community. And I think that’s what we need in Congress right now, is enough of the politics and the games on both sides of the aisle,” Knepper said.

MaryAnne Pintar, Peters' district chief of staff, said Peters is focused on doing his job in Congress.

"We are only two months into the term, and voters are still fatigued from what was a long, hard-fought election; they aren't ready for this stuff yet," she said. "Congressman Peters is focused on doing his job and was recently called one of the most prominent advocates for research funding in Congress by the business press for his work to bring investment to San Diego and grow our economy. When it's time to campaign again, whoever the challenger turns out to be, we will be ready."

Atkinson served as a Marine platoon commander and company commander in Iraq and is a Wounded Warrior alumna, according to a biography provided by Knepper. She was honorably discharged and then took a job as a portfolio manager for the Joint Improvised Explosives Device Defeat Organization, where she works on reducing the impacts of improvised explosive devices.

Atkinson also serves on Mayor Kevin Faulconer's LGBT Advisory Board and is co‐chair of the San Diego County Sheriff's Advisory Board.

She is engaged to be married to Annette Renee GrandPre, and competes in ultramarathons and ironman competitions.

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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.

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