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Democrat Chris Ward Wins Race To Replace Councilman Todd Gloria

Photo caption:

Photo by Milan Kovacevic

Chris Ward speaks to the crowd at the San Diego County Democratic Party's gathering at the Westin Hotel in downtown San Diego, June 7, 2016. Ward won the election to replace San Diego City Councilman Todd Gloria in representing San Diego's District 3.

Democrat Chris Ward To Likely Replace Councilman Todd Gloria


Chris Ward, candidate district 3, San Diego City Council


UPDATE: 5:07 p.m. June 8, 2016

Chris Ward won a landslide victory in San Diego's District 3.

The district includes downtown, Hillcrest and North Park. Those neighborhoods are currently laying the groundwork for more housing density. And some residents are reluctant to accept the changes. Ward said they are an opportunity for smart growth.

"I’m really excited about the work that I’ve done on the Uptown Plan in particular, to be able to actually put density where it belongs, along transit corridors. We want to try and guide and facilitate development where it makes sense. There has been a little bit of tussle within the community, but I think that’s been healthy conversation. Maybe taken longer than we would have liked it to," Ward said. "The next council member is going to have to implement those plans. And if we can help to transform some of the areas like El Cajon Boulevard, Park Boulevard, some of the other spots where we can accommodate the growth, where we can increase mass transit opportunities, I’m going to be very excited to be a part of that action."

UPDATE: 12:05 a.m. June 8, 2016

Democrat Chris Ward will move from his job as state Sen. Marty Block's chief of staff to become the councilman next year for San Diego City Council District 3.

Ward easily defeated fellow Democrat Anthony Bernal, a staffer for the district's current councilman, Todd Gloria. Gloria is termed out and running for the state Assembly. Ward had 60 percent of the vote with 31 percent of the votes counted.

Ward told KUSI that his background as an urban planner will help with issues in the district that includes downtown and other neighborhoods in central San Diego.

"I think that understanding land use issues of environmental planning is going to be helpful for a lot of community development proposals we have around affordable housing, and a lot of new neighborhood, parks and recreations and other kinds of things we want to be able to build into our communities," Bernal said.

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

In early returns, Chris Ward has a significant lead over fellow Democrat Anthony Bernal in the San Diego City Council District 3 race. Ward has 61 percent of the vote to Bernal's 25 percent.

If Ward stays ahead by more than 50 percent of the vote, he could win the election outright tonight. So far, only 11 percent of the vote has been counted.

Photo caption:

City council candidates Anthony Bernal and Chris Ward.

Original post

The race to represent San Diego's central neighborhoods on the City Council has been fairly contentious, even though the two major candidates are both Democrats and agree on most issues.

Special Feature View all Election Results →

Election Results

Photo by Susana Tsutsumi

This map shows the location of the San Diego City Council's District 3. It includes Old Town, Mission Hills, Middletown, Bankers Hill/Park West, Little Italy, Balboa Park, Downtown, Golden Hill, South Park, North Park, Hillcrest, University Heights and Normal Heights.

Anthony Bernal and Chris Ward have sent attack mailers, accused each other of lying and criticized each other over endorsements.

Neither candidate secured the endorsement of incumbent Councilman Todd Gloria, who is being termed out and running for state Assembly. Gloria, a Democrat, is generally well liked in the district, and both candidates say they want to continue his legacy.

Who is running?

Bernal works for Gloria as the director of business and community projects in his City Council office. Ward is chief of staff for state Sen. Marty Block, a San Diego Democrat. They are also running against independent Scott Sanborn, an Army Special Forces veteran and lawyer.

Because the district is heavily Democratic, the race is expected to end Tuesday with either Ward or Bernal getting a majority of the votes. If no candidate gets a majority, the top two vote-getters will face off in November.

Who is supporting whom?

Bernal secured the endorsement of Republican Mayor Kevin Faulconer and basketball star Bill Walton. His campaign also published a lengthy list of endorsements from members of the community, but some of those people say they made no such endorsement.

While some Democrats criticized Bernal for accepting contributions from people who also donated to Republican groups, Bernal defended himself in an opinion piece he penned for the online news website Voice of San Diego.

Ward has been endorsed by the San Diego County Democratic Party and a number of big-name Democrats, including his boss Block; Assemblywoman Toni Atkins, who also used to represent the district on the City Council; Rep. Scott Peters; and Democratic council members David Alvarez, Myrtle Cole and Marti Emerald.

While Ward's original campaign kickoff announcement said he'd been endorsed by Democratic Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, Ward's campaign manager said Gonzalez withdrew her endorsement in December because Ward opposed her bill putting state regulations on the city's redevelopment nonprofit Civic San Diego.

What are the issues?

Ward said the biggest issues facing the district are homelessness, neighborhood infrastructure and fixing Balboa Park.

Bernal is also focused on addressing homelessness, supporting small businesses, boosting public safety and making infrastructure repairs.

In a KPBS questionnaire, both Ward and Bernal agreed on every issue.

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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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