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San Diego Council President Cole Keeps Narrow Lead, Moreno Advances To Runoff

A 2018 California primary election ballot is shown at a polling station in San Diego, June 5, 2018.
KPBS Staff
A 2018 California primary election ballot is shown at a polling station in San Diego, June 5, 2018.

Political staffer Vivian Moreno will head to November's general election race for the San Diego City Council District 8 seat, but two candidates were in a dead heat for the second spot on the ballot.

Meanwhile, three council incumbents will also move on to the runoff.

Due to a 2016 ballot initiative in San Diego, no City Council candidate can win a seat outright during a primary election, so the top two finishers from each technically nonpartisan race advance to the November runoff.


City Councilman David Alvarez is termed out of his post in District 8, which is geographically split to include Sherman Heights and Barrio Logan near downtown as well as Otay Mesa and San Ysidro by the border.

Moreno, a Democrat who works in Alvarez's office, attributed her success to a grass-roots campaign that didn't rely on super PAC money.

"With a group of dedicated and committed volunteers, I knew it was going to be great," Moreno told KUSI. "... All the money raised was with our hard work — volunteers came out on Saturdays to knock on doors."

It wasn't yet clear who will join Moreno in November.

With 92 percent of precincts reporting, San Ysidro school board member Antonio Martinez held a roughly 250-vote lead over human rights advocate Christian Ramirez. Both candidates are Democrats. Given the close nature of the race, the second-place finisher may not be determined until all provisional, questioned and late ballots are tallied.


In District 2, which includes beach communities and a section of Clairemont, incumbent City Councilwoman Lorie Zapf, a Republican, cruised to the November general, when she will face retired doctor Jennifer Campbell, a Democrat.

Incumbent City Councilwoman Myrtle Cole, a Democrat, led her race for re-election in District 4 only narrowly ahead of Democratic civil rights lawyer Monica Montgomery. The two will face each other in November.

In District 6, which includes Mira Mesa, Rancho Penasquitos, Kearny Mesa and most of Clairemont, incumbent City Councilman Chris Cate, a Republican, held a commanding lead all night. He will be challenged by Democratic broadcaster and environmental advocate Tommy Hough.

An incumbent council member hasn't lost in San Diego since 1992.

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