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Democrat Bry Finishes First In Council District 1 Race, Faces Ellis In Fall

Photo caption: The candidates and incumbent in City Council District 1. Clockwise from upper...

Photo credit: KPBS, Candidate Courtesy Photos

The candidates and incumbent in City Council District 1. Clockwise from upper left: Barbara Bry, Ray Ellis, Louis Rodolico, Kyle Heiskala, Bruce Lightner and Sherri Lightner.

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High-tech entrepreneur Barbara Bry was just shy on Wednesday of the number of votes needed to claim a seat on the San Diego City Council, meaning she will have to compete in a November runoff election.

Democrat Bry Finishes First In Council District 1 Race, Faces Ellis In Fall

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Barbara Bry, district 1 candidate, San Diego City Council

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UPDATE: 5:33 a.m., June 8, 2016

High-tech entrepreneur Barbara Bry was just shy on Wednesday of the number of votes needed to claim a seat on the San Diego City Council, meaning she will have to compete in a November runoff election.

Photo by Nancee Lewis

Supporters of Barbara Bry hold signs at Golden Hall in downtown San Diego, June 7, 2016. Bry will face Ray Ellis in a November runoff to represent District 1 on the San Diego City Council.

In all, five seats on the nine-member panel were up for grabs in Tuesday's election. Candidates who received a majority of the votes won outright, otherwise the top two vote-getters advanced to a runoff in November.

According to the county Registrar of Voters Office, which released unofficial results early today after local precincts were counted, Bry was still shy of the 50 percent needed to win the seat outright, although it wasn't immediately clear if late or provisional ballots remained to be counted and might affect the outcome. Barring that, Bry will face businessman Ray Ellis in the November runoff.

Bruce Lightner, husband of Sherri Lightner, placed third in the race, followed by council staffer Kyle Heiskala and Louis Rodolico.

Photo credit: Nancee Lewis

Ray Ellis speaks at the U.S. Grant, June 7, 2016. Ellis will face Barbara Bry in a November runoff to represent District 1 on the San Diego City Council.

The race for District 1 — which represents Carmel Valley, La Jolla and University City — will determine the balance of power on the technically nonpartisan panel.

Democrats cling to a 5-4 majority, which would be maintained with a Bry victory. Lightner, the council president, is being termed out after eight years.

UPDATE: 1:10 a.m., June 8, 2016

At times Tuesday night, it looked like Democrat Barbara Bry might pull out an outright win in the San Diego City Council District 1 race, but in the end she fell just short of capturing more than 50 percent of the vote.

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Election Results

She received 49 percent of the votes and will now face Republican Ray Ellis in the November general election. He came in second with 34 percent of the votes. Three other challengers competed in the race.

"As you know, I was way outspent by Mr. Ellis and the special interests supporting him. ... And the good results are a tribute to the grass-roots, volunteer-driven effort that we’ve run," Bry told KPBS.

Earlier in the evening, when Ellis saw he was in second place, he told supporters he was "disappointed about early results, but it's a long night."

Now it's on to November for Bry and Ellis.

Photo caption: Supporters of Barbara Bry hold signs at Golden Hall in downtown San Diego, Ju...

Photo by Nancee Lewis

Supporters of Barbara Bry hold signs at Golden Hall in downtown San Diego, June 7, 2016. Bry will face Ray Ellis in a November runoff to represent District 1 on the San Diego City Council.

UPDATE: 11:30 p.m. June 7, 2016

As the returns continue to come in, Democrat Barbara Bry remains out in front in the San Diego City Council District 1 race. With 30 percent of the votes counted, she was at 49.58 percent — just shy of having the majority to win the election outright.

Her nearest competitor was Republican Ray Ellis, with 34 percent of the vote.

UPDATE: 8:10 p.m. June 7, 2016

The two front-runners in the San Diego City Council District 1 race — Democrat Barbara Bry and Republican Ray Ellis — are out in front in early election returns.

With about 10 percent of the votes counted, Bry has just under 50 percent of the vote to Ellis' 34 percent. A candidate can win the race outright by getting more than 50 percent of the vote. With so few votes counted, it's too soon to say Bry will win.

Original post

San Diego City Council District 1 has been the source of the most aggressive campaigning this election season in the city. Likely front-runners Barbara Bry and Ray Ellis have exchanged accusations of misleading — or outright lying — to voters.

Much of the controversy centers on the Citizens' Plan for San Diego, which Bry supports and Ellis opposes. The initiative is trying to get on the November ballot, and would prohibit public money from being spent on a stadium for the San Diego Chargers. However, it could also make using private money to build a downtown stadium cheaper by clearing environmental hurdles and connecting it to an expansion of the San Diego Convention Center.

The Citizens' Plan also has support from some environmentalists because it reserves the Qualcomm Stadium site in Mission Valley for parkland and a campus expansion of UCSD and SDSU. City Attorney Jan Goldsmith, a Republican, has sparred with the plan's author, activist attorney Cory Briggs, over whether the plan is legally defensible.

Big spending

Ellis, a Republican, has largely outraised and outspent Bry, a Democrat. Super PACs supporting Ellis also have bigger budgets than those supporting Bry.

Bry calls herself a high-tech entrepreneur. She co-founded an organization to support women in the life sciences and another nonpartisan group to support women in politics. Ellis calls himself a centrist and independent problem solver. He is a small-business owner who volunteers for a number of local charities and nonprofits.

The outcome in the district, which includes La Jolla, University City and Carmel Valley, is likely to decide which party has a majority on the City Council. Democrats currently have a 5-4 majority. The majority can elect a council president, who in turn controls the agendas at City Council meetings.

Bry and Ellis were the only two candidates in the race up until a few weeks before the filing deadline to enter the race. Then, in a last-minute rush that raised eyebrows among some local politicos, the candidate pool grew to five.

Louis Rodolico, a retired hospital architect, has made the Regents Road bridge his campaign centerpiece. The bridge has been planned for decades as a way to reduce traffic congestion and boost emergency response times in the area. Opposition from some residents and environmental groups has all but killed the plans. Rodolico is a Democrat.

Kyle Heiskala, a recent UCSD graduate who serves on incumbent Sherri Lightner's staff, has focused on public transportation, climate change and inspiring more young people to get involved in politics. Heiskala is an independent.

Bruce Lightner, an engineer and husband of termed-out District 1 incumbent Sherri Lightner, a Democrat, has promised to continue his wife's policies. Lightner is a Republican and insists he entered the race to win. But his absence from several community forums has come under fire from Ellis and the county GOP. Both have suggested he entered the race to force the election into a November runoff, when voter turnout has historically favored Democrats.

City election rules allow a candidate who wins more than 50 percent of the vote in June to bypass the November election. Otherwise, the two who finish first and second square off in November.

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