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Politics

Candidates For District 3 Supervisors Seat To Face Off In Escondido

Kristin Gaspar, left, at the at the U.S. Grant, and Dave Roberts at the Westin hotel in downtown San Diego, June 7, 2016.
Nancee Lewis / Milan Kovacevic
Kristin Gaspar, left, at the at the U.S. Grant, and Dave Roberts at the Westin hotel in downtown San Diego, June 7, 2016.

San Diego County Supervisor Dave Roberts, a Democrat, and his challenger, Republican Kristin Gaspar, will face off at a forum Monday night in Escondido. Land use is likely to be a key issue in this race for the District 3 seat on the County Board of Supervisors.

Opportunities to see Roberts and Gaspar face-to-face in a debate have been few and far between, according to longtime political consultant Tom Shepard.

“I don’t know if the presidential campaign is sucking all the energy out of debates,” Shepard said. “I can imagine in the 3rd Supervisors District that neither candidate may be that enthusiastic about debating. Each of them has vulnerabilities that they’d probably prefer not to expose at a public forum.”

Roberts has last year’s personnel dispute in his office to answer for, and Gaspar has attracted so much financial support from development interests that her impartiality on land use decisions may be questioned.

Map of San Diego County Supervisors Districts
San Diego County
Map of San Diego County Supervisors Districts

For more than two decades, no incumbent supervisor has been unseated. Roberts won the seat after Pam Slater Price stepped down after 20 years representing District 3.

This year independent expenditures for Gaspar far outstrip the war chest built up by Roberts.

Gaspar’s own campaign has raised almost three times as much as Roberts’ since the primary election in June: $150,000 compared to Robert’s $55,000. Gaspar’s total fundraising this year has collected $388,000 compared to Robert’s $312,000, and she has more cash on hand.

However, even more significant is the amount raised to support Gaspar by independent committees. A PAC called "Citizens for Fair and Honest Leadership“ sponsored by the Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Lincoln Club has raised about $400,000 for Gaspar, as of the last reporting period.

Map of San Diego's unincorporated areas
San Diego County
Map of San Diego's unincorporated areas

The District 3 seat on the November ballot represents urban areas, but every vote on the five-member board of supervisors counts on decisions about development in the sprawling unincorporated back country. Farmers are among those who want to know where the candidates stand on the issue of building in rural and unincorporated areas.

Monday night’s debate starts at 6 p.m. at the Escondido Center for the Arts Conference Center.

Both candidates' campaigns said they plan to participate in at least one more debate before the November election, sponsored by the Rancho Bernardo Community Council on Tuesday, Oct. 25.

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