#ShowUsYourMailers: Gomez Targets Flores' Support From 'Republican' Group
San Diego voters in City Council District 9 will pick a new representative next week, and the race is heating up between the two Democratic candidates vying for the role.
A recent flyer from the campaign of candidate Georgette Gomez paints her opponent Ricardo Flores as a right-wing politician whose supporters align with GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump.
It claims Flores, a Democrat, is “endorsed by the Republican Chamber of Commerce” and calls him a “City Hall insider backed by Trump Republicans.”
The title for the pro-business organization is actually the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce and the group has not endorsed a candidate in the presidential election nor the District 9 council race. The chamber, led by former Republican San Diego mayor Jerry Sanders has however, helped fund Flores’ campaign.
Through a committee supporting Flores, the chamber contributed $51,500 to his candidacy during the primary election. The pro-Flores committee was then terminated about a month after the June election. Later in October, the chamber donated $25,000 to Public Safety Advocates, a political committee that opposes Gomez's candidacy, independent expenditure reports filed with the city clerk's office show.
Gomez’s campaign spokesman, Roberto Torres, said the chamber's financial support indicates an endorsement and said labeling the chamber as Republican is a fair description because of the policies it supports.
In an emailed statement, Flores said he appreciates the broad range of supporters. In the past, he has distanced himself from the chamber's support.
Additionally, Torres claims the chamber and Trump supporters have both contributed to Public Safety Advocates, an independent expenditure committee that circulated an anti-Gomez mailer. A review of local and federal campaign finance data shows at least two individuals who have contributed to Trump's presidential run also contributed to Public Safety Advocates.
“They’ve funded the same (independent expenditure committee) that’s being funded by Trump Republicans to basically lie about Georgette,” Torres said.
That mailer, which said Gomez was under investigation by the Fair Political Practices Commission, was found to be "misleading" by Voice of San Diego.
Gomez, an associate director for the Environmental Health Coalition, and Flores, chief of staff to current District 9 Councilwoman Marti Emerald, were the top two vote-getters in the June primary.
San Diego City Council District 9 includes the community planning areas of Kensington-Talmadge, College Area and City Heights and part of Southeastern San Diego.