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North County's 49th District Flipped Parties In 2018. Could It Flip Back?

49th Congressional District candidates Mike Levin (left) and Brian Maryott (right) in undated campaign photos.
Campaign Photos
49th Congressional District candidates Mike Levin (left) and Brian Maryott (right) in undated campaign photos.
The Democratic incumbent Mike Levin says he's confident he'll keep the seat. Republican challenger Brian Maryott says he thinks voters want a change.

The 49th Congressional District in San Diego’s North County flipped in 2018 from Republican to Democratic. Now, there's a possibility the seat could flip back again.

In the 49th district, there are slightly more registered Democratic voters - 38 percent - compared to Republican voters at 36 percent. That means more than a quarter are independents, according to the San Diego Union Tribune.

Party registration in the district could help incumbent Mike Levin keep the seat blue. But Republican challenger Brian Maryott said he could flip it back because voters want someone more "bipartisan." Like him.


"Mike is a very ambitious progressive. He is part of a progressive caucus that has ideas about nationalizing our energy sector, our healthcare sector," Maryott said. "That means putting your family on a government-run plan very quickly and that’s not what families want."

Levin said he’s passed several bipartisan bills.

"I think the record speaks for itself. I'm the chairman of a Veterans Affairs subcommittee where I've helped to introduce 20 bipartisan bills. Twelve of them have passed the House. Four of them have already been signed into law by President Trump," he said.

"We've done a very good job in trying to represent our community. Ideologically, I'm right in the middle, based on the independent analysis that I've seen of the Democratic caucus, in terms of my ideology score, if you will. So I'm very proud of the record."

North County's 49th District Flipped Parties In 2018. Could It Flip Back?

Levin said he’s also worked on bipartisan task forces to remove nuclear waste from San Onofre.


Maryott, however, insists some of Levin’s policies are too liberal, like support for public health care.

"Mike’s plan is a 100% government-run system that snuffs out everything else, in fact, makes it illegal," he said. "I’ve called it the most egregious, un-American piece of legislation in print."

Levin said health care access shouldn't be dismantled, especially during a pandemic.

"I have some bedrock principles that we need to aspire to, quality and affordable health care access for everyone. And we shouldn't be dismantling the Affordable Care Act, particularly in the middle of a pandemic," Levin said. "We've got about 20 million Americans that are on the ACA getting their health care by virtue of the ACA exchanges. And 47,000 of those are in our district. It is absolutely disastrous to attack and undermine the ACA."

Some of Levin’s key issues are veterans' rights and removing nuclear waste from San Onofre and keeping residents safe during the coronavirus pandemic.

"I'm informed by our scientists and our public health experts as we look to make good public policy. And it's very clear that we cannot have a healthy economy in the long term unless we have healthy people. So we've got to do everything we can to crush this virus," Levin said.

Maryott said he supports private health care and keeping businesses afloat.

"Americans aren't going to stay on shutdown forever. You just can't ask them to. There comes a point where you begin to eat into the structure, the economic structure in particular. But also, you know, our way of life structure," Maryott said.

Recent polls conducted by the San Diego Union-Tribune and 10 News show Mike Levin in the lead at about 49% support. Maryott trails behind at 37%.

North County's 49th District Flipped Parties In 2018. Could It Flip Back?
Listen to this story by Shalina Chatlani.

Democracy Day is an effort that started in 2022 to draw attention to the crisis facing American democracy, provide the public with the context and information they need, and bring all types of media together to sound the alarm collectively. KPBS is a media partner in this collaborative.