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Deceased candidate leading in race for Chula Vista city attorney

Matt Bowler
The City of Chula Vista Civic Center is shown in this image taken Oct. 21, 2021 with the KPBS Voter Hub overlay.

Live Results

Early election returns show deceased candidate Simon Silva leading in the race for Chula Vista city attorney.

Silva, who was the top candidate in the primary, died unexpectedly of cancer in September.

The early returns show Silva leading with 52% of the vote to Smith's 48%. If Silva ends up with the most votes, Chula Vista taxpayers would have to pay between $1.5 and $2 for a special election.

The race received an unusual amount of attention this year — mainly because the San Diego County Democratic Party continued to endorse and promote Silva after he died.

Smith, a Republican, was among many who accused the Democrats of putting politics ahead of Chula Vista’s finances.

"By not informing (voters), I think it’s a great disservice to not allow them to make that decision," Smith said. "It’s almost as if the party, the elites would make the decision for the voters."

If Silva wins, the Chula Vista City Council will decide when to hold a special election. Their options are either April or November 2023. Current City Attorney Glen Googins said he will continue to serve until his successor is elected.

Smith would not say whether he would run again if there were a special election. "I’ll let everybody know as soon as I can," he said. "But let’s see where this vote goes.”

Explore all national, state and local returns now.