Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Watch Live


Roundtable: Candidates, Issues In 50th, 52nd & 53rd Congressional Districts

Candidates for the 53rd Congressional District include Sara Jacobs (D), Georgette Gomez (D), Famela Ramos (R) and Janessa Goldbeck (D).
Candidates for the 53rd Congressional District include Sara Jacobs (D), Georgette Gomez (D), Famela Ramos (R) and Janessa Goldbeck (D).

Priya Sridhar, KPBS News

Matt Hoffman, KPBS News

Amita Sharma, KPBS News

Michael Smolens, San Diego Union-Tribune

Campaign for the 50th increasingly fractious

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.

Related: Four Candidates Vying For Duncan Hunter’s Vacated 50th District Seat

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.

Related: Congressman Peters Faces Challenge From Fellow Democrat Over Green New Deal

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.

Related: A Large Field Of Candidates Vying For The 53rd Congressional District Seat

Democracy Day is an effort that started in 2022 to draw attention to the crisis facing American democracy, provide the public with the context and information they need, and bring all types of media together to sound the alarm collectively. KPBS is a media partner in this collaborative.