Roundtable: Candidates, Issues In 50th, 52nd & 53rd Congressional Districts
Priya Sridhar, KPBS News
Matt Hoffman, KPBS News
Amita Sharma, KPBS News
Michael Smolens, San Diego Union-Tribune
San Diego County's 50th Congressional District seat is wide open for the first time in 40 years. Duncan Hunter, Jr., who succeeded his father in the seat, resigned in early January after pleading guilty to a campaign finance crime. Three of the four top contenders are Republicans: State Senator Brian Jones; former San Diego City Councilman Carl DeMaio; and former Congressman Darrell Issa. DeMaio and Issa, who do not live in the district, are currently engaged in a pitched battle of nasty campaign ads. Ammar Campa-Najar, who lives in the district and lost a close race to Hunter in 2018, is running as a fairly conservative Democrat. The 50th is a reliably red East County district.
Climate change is big issue in 52nd District
Democrat Scott Peters has represented this district since he beat incumbent Republican Congressman Brian Bilbray in 2012, winning by increasingly larger margins each election cycle since. The seat in this fairly affluent district could be considered safe, but Peters has drawn two reasonably well-known challengers. Democrat Nancy Casady is challenging Peters for not supporting the Green New Deal. Peters responds that battling climate change is a concern of everyone, and the GND will not bring others to the table. Republican Jim DeBello says “there is science on both sides” of the issue of man-made climate change.
No shortage of candidates in 53rd district
Democrat Susan Davis' retirement announcement after 20 years in Congress drew a flock of office-seekers, 15 of whom qualified for the March ballot. The presumed front-runners in the heavily Democratic district are Democrats Sara Jacobs, who served in the State Department in the Obama Administration; Georgette Gomez, current president of the San Diego City Council; and Marine veteran Janessa Goldbeck. Republican challenger Famela Ramos works in high-tech. Big issues in this district are gun control and climate change.