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5 Things To Watch This March Primary Election

A sample ballot in this file graphic, January 2020.

Photo by KPBS Staff

Above: A sample ballot in this file graphic, January 2020.

Have you started filling out your ballot on the KPBS Voter Guide yet? With the primary election coming up on March 3, it’s time to start digging in and preparing to exercise one of your most important rights: voting.

We know there’s a lot on the ballot, from the presidential primaries down to school board seats. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of the most-watched local races. Below, you can find our news stories that sum up the major races and the candidates competing for your vote, along with a much-debated ballot proposition.

Don’t forget to visit kpbs.org/elections to check for updates and news stories so you can stay in the loop right up until Election Day on March 3.

San Diego Mayor

The candidates: Barbara Bry, Todd Gloria, Rich Riel, Scott Sherman, Gita Singh and Tasha Williamson.

Even though the race is officially nonpartisan, there’s a chance that for the first time in at least a half-century, voters in the city of San Diego will only have Democrats to choose from when they vote for mayor in the November election.

That's because the top two vote-getters in the March primary will advance to the November general election, and three of the five candidates are Democrats.

All of the candidates have long histories in San Diego, and three of them are current or past San Diego City Council members: Todd Gloria and Barbara Bry, both Democrats, and Scott Sherman, a Republican. Community activist Tasha Williamson and nurse practitioner Gita Singh are also in the race — both have never held elected office.

RELATED: Two Establishment Democrats, A Republican And An Outsider Vying For San Diego Mayor

House of Representatives District 50

The candidates: Ammar Campa-Najjar (D), Brian Jones (R), Carl DeMaio (R), Darrell Issa (R).

Duncan D. Hunter’s resignation in early January — which followed his December guilty plea to a campaign finance crime — has left the race wide open, with three Republicans and a Democrat among the top contenders.

The Republicans include: State Senator Brian Jones, radio host and former San Diego City Councilman Carl DeMaio and former nine-term Congressman Darrell Issa. The Democrat is former Obama administration official Ammar Campa-Najjar. Campa-Najjar ran against Hunter in 2018, losing by fewer than 9,000 votes.

RELATED: Four Candidates Vying For Duncan Hunter’s Vacated 50th District Seat

San Diego City Attorney

The candidates: Cory Briggs, Peter Mesich, Mara Elliot.

Three candidates are running for San Diego City Attorney in the March Primary, each bringing their own ideas for how the city's top lawyer should be representing the city.

Transparency advocate Cory Briggs and Peter Mesich, a former deputy city attorney, are challenging incumbent Mara Elliott, saying the city needs more transparency and community outreach from the city attorney's office. Meanwhile, Elliott says she's confident in her track record of protecting San Diegans and their tax dollars.

RELATED: Three Candidates Face Off For San Diego City Attorney

House of Representatives District 53

The candidates: Georgette Gomez (D), Janessa Goldbeck (D), Sarah Jacobs (D), Famela Ramos (R), Jose Caballero (D), John Brooks (D), Joseph Fountain (D), Eric Roger Kutner (D), Annette Meza (D), Suzette Santori (D), Joaquín Vázquez (D), Michael Patrick Oristian (R), Chris Stoddard (R), Fernando Garcia (I).

Democratic Rep. Susan Davis surprised many when she announced last year she was retiring from her 53rd Congressional District seat, which she's held since 2003. It didn't take long for more than a dozen candidates to jump into the March primary race to take her place.

Among this crowded field of candidates, only the top two vote-getters on March 3 will face off in the November general election.

RELATED: A Large Field Of Candidates Vying For The 53rd Congressional District Seat

Proposition 13

San Diego Unified School District has received more than $87 million in state bonds in the past decade, and more could be on its way if Proposition 13 passes in March. The $15 billion statewide bond would fund facility improvements for schools and colleges across the state, prioritizing the neediest schools with the most serious safety concerns.

But these benefits come at a cost for taxpayers. A “yes” vote on Prop. 13 would mean improved school facilities but could also mean higher property taxes for those districts.

RELATED: Proposition 13 Would Issue $15 Billion In Bonds For School Renovations

Election 2020 news coverage

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