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Kelvin Barrios Ending Campaign For District 9 Seat

City Council candidate Kelvin Barrios in this undated campaign photo.
Campaign photo
City Council candidate Kelvin Barrios in this undated campaign photo.
Former aide to City Council President Georgette Gómez is ending his campaign for her seat.

UPDATE: 4:34 p.m., Sept. 28, 2020

Kelvin Barrios, a former City Council aide and current labor union staffer, on Monday suspended his campaign for San Diego City Council District 9.

Barrios’ campaign suspension was confirmed by his campaign spokesperson Tony Manolatos.

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Kelvin Barrios Ending Campaign For District 9 Seat
Listen to this story by Max Rivlin-Nadler.

The suspension came hours after his employer, LIUNA Local 89, announced it would be withdrawing its efforts on behalf of Barrios. Over the weekend, National City Mayor Alejandra Sotelo-Solis and Chula Vista Mayor Mary Salas withdrew their support from Barrios.

Last month, City Council president Georgette Gomez announced she was “pausing” her endorsement. Barrios had been Gomez’s aide.

The county's Labor Council and several of its major Democratic party leaders had backed Barrios

Kelvin Barrios Full Statement
The full statement from Kelvin Barrios explaining why he is suspending his campaign.
To view PDF files, download Acrobat Reader.

but began withdrawing support after revelations about his admitted misuse of funds while serving as the treasurer for the San Diego County Young Democrats. Barrios’ spending while acting as volunteer treasurer is currently under investigation by the San Diego County District Attorney’s office.

Barrio’s misuse of funds for the Young Democrats was followed by further reporting by the San Diego Union-Tribune and Voice of San Diego that Barrios filled out financial disclosure forms incorrectly, and worked for both the city council and a labor union at the same time, albeit briefly.

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In a letter sent to Local 89 members on Monday morning explaining its withdrawal of support, LIUNA Secretary-Treasurer Valentine R. Macedo wrote:

“Above all else, it is more important that the labor family in San Diego is working together, not against one another under these circumstances; and that is why we at LIUNA Local 89 are making the decision to withdraw our efforts. We do not believe the cost of the friction between sisters and brothers in the labor movement planted by the one-sided media coverage in this situation is worth it, because we are stronger together.”

Earlier this month, the Labor Council’s Executive Committee held a vote on whether to un-endorse Barrios, but it failed to reach the two-thirds majority needed to pass.

In a statement released Monday afternoon, Barrios wrote, "Our neighborhoods don’t just need a champion,they need justice. I’m suspending my race because I understand that if I continue, that will only cause for more distractions. We don’t need that."

Barrios and his opponent, Sean Elo-Rivera, both Democrats, will still appear on ballots that will be sent out in the comings weeks. The San Diego Democratic Party did not endorse in the race.

In a statement to KPBS, Elo-Rivera said, "The suspension of our opponent's campaign will allow our community to move away from focusing on scandals and toward focusing on the brighter future San Diegans deserve. Our campaign will continue engaging the community and building the momentum we'll need to make San Diego a world-class city with opportunity for all."

Santa Ana winds are sweeping through parts of San Diego County as temperatures heat up amid low humidity, significantly raising the risk of wildfires throughout the region. Plus, Former aide to City Council President Georgette Gómez, Kelvin Barrios, is ending his campaign for her seat. Also, before they battled major coronavirus outbreaks, Imperial County’s skilled nursing facilities already had histories of past citations and non-compliance, including infection control issues.

Corrected: February 29, 2024 at 12:01 AM PST
Editor's Note: This story was updated to include comments from Kelvin Barrios and Sean Elo-Rivera. KPBS reporter Matt Hoffman contributed to this story.
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