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Roundtable: The California Primary Is Early, Big And Important

Photo by Shalina Chatlani

A California voter guide is pictured at the San Diego County Registrar of Voters, Feb. 18, 2020.

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What a difference a date makes. This is the first year the California Primary is early enough to have some influence on the selection of a presidential nominee. And there are plenty of important local races and issues to decide.

Aired: February 28, 2020 | Transcript

Roundtable Guests

Michael Smolens, The San Diego union-Tribune

Amita Sharma, KPBS News

David Garrick, The San Diego Union-Tribune

Seth Combs, freelance journalist

California matters

Before this year, party nominees were all but chosen by the time California voted in June. Now, California's complex --some might call it absurdly complex-- system for awarding delegates will kick in when the state votes on March 3. California will send 494 delegates to the Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee this July. Most of them — 271 delegates — will represent one of the state’s 53 congressional districts. Others are at-large or awarded for other reasons.

San Diego mayoral candidates have issues

The mayoral campaign has gotten noticeably testy. An independent committee supporting Todd Gloria recently aired a television ad accusing Barbara Bry of hypocrisy. Bry’s recent ad says Gloria and Republican Scott Sherman are “two sides of the same coin.” Polling shows Gloria with a substantial lead, so Bry and Sherman are competing for the number two spot on the ballot. Although Gloria is ahead in fundraising, lots of money is circulating through the race.

Outgoing Mayor Kevin Faulconer would no doubt like his legacy to include a major expansion of the downtown convention center. His last chance is on the ballot as Measure C. Passage of the initiative, which also includes funds for aiding the homeless and repairing roads needs a two-thirds majority to pass, which is a tall order.

Related: As Voters Weigh Expanding San Diego Convention Center, Many Measure C Details Unknown

Surprises in the 53rd congressional race

The race to fill Susan Davis’ seat in Congress has gotten more interesting, with money and endorsements flying in the very blue district. Sara Jacobs seems to have spent the most on advertising. Political newcomer and LGBTQ Marine Reservist Janessa Goldbeck received the endorsement of the San Diego Union-Tribune and celebrity Mia Farrow. City Councilmember Georgette Gomez, who surprised many by lagging in fund-raising and polling, has suddenly received endorsements from progressive politicians Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio Cortez.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated Mia Farrow endorsed Georgette Gomez. Mia Farrow has endorsed Janessa Goldbeck.

Election 2020 news coverage

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Roundtable is a lively discussion of the week's top stories. Local journalists join host Mark Sauer to provide insight into how these stories affect residents of the San Diego region.

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