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How Atkins, Block Race Affects San Diego Politics

Evening Edition host Peggy Pico speaks with political science professors Thad Kousser from UCSD and Carl Luna of Mesa College about the battle for the senate race between California Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins and state Sen. Marty Block.

How Atkins, Block Race Affects San Diego Politics


Thad Kousser, political science professor, UC San Diego

Carl Luna, political science professor, Mesa College


The race between California Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins and state Sen. Marty Block may have local and statewide implications.

Both Democrats are battling for Block’s current Senate seat, which represents the 39th District in San Diego.

Thad Kousser, political science professor at UC San Diego, said the race will suck up a lot of money in San Diego County.

Atkins has raised more than $600,000 for a senate race, while Block has about $80,000, according to the Associated Press.

But, it could also hurt the local Democratic Party.

"Here's the real sadness," Carl Luna, political science professor at San Diego Mesa College, told KPBS Midday Edition on Tuesday. "They are really good people. We're going to have good Democrats ripping each other apart. It's bad for the brand."

Luna said Atkins will only strengthen her reputation among Democrats if she wins.

"The only major advantage is if she wins," Luna said. "If she loses, she's got a lot on the line. She will be seen as a spoiler for the party so it's quite a gamble."

Luna and Kousser also said the race says a lot about local politics. Atkins was seen as a potential challenger to Mayor Kevin Faulconer who is currently running unopposed.

"I think that's shocking in a city that leans blue," Kousser said.

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