In what appears to be an unexpected political upset in North County, the latest vote count shows Escondido Mayor Sam Abed losing his seat to political newcomer Paul McNamara.
The blue wave is lapping at Escondido’s shores. Mayor Abed was winning on election night, but as late votes are counted, his lead has disappeared and Paul McNamara, a retired Marine colonel and a Democrat, has pulled ahead.
Abed has served two terms and was expecting to serve a third. A pro-business Republican, he easily fended off a challenge from Democratic city councilwoman Olga Diaz four years ago.
In May, Abed was one of the San Diego officials who went to Washington DC and sat next to President Trump, throwing his weight against California‘s sanctuary city laws. In the past he supported measures that penalized landlords who housed undocumented immigrants.
McNamara, on the other hand, has run on a platform of ending divisive politics. He has said the city has lost its way and he challenged Abed’s narrative of successful business development in Escondido. McNamara said the council has wasted money on unnecessary lawsuits, because of poor decision making.
With a McNamara win, there would be a new progressive majority on the Escondido city council. Latina Consuelo Martinez has defeated incumbent Republican Ed Gallo to represent District One. Martinez’s win comes on her second attempt under the new system of district elections, begun four years ago and designed to increase diversity on the city council.
McNamara and Martinez would likely vote with Olga Diaz, who has, until now, been the lone Democrat and therefore in the minority on most votes on the Escondido city council.