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Politics

Incumbent Republican Kristin Gaspar Holds Large Lead In Third District County Supervisor Race

County Supervisor Kristin Gaspar at Republican watch party at the U.S. Grant on Super Tuesday, Mar. 3, 2020.
KPBS Staff
County Supervisor Kristin Gaspar at Republican watch party at the U.S. Grant on Super Tuesday, Mar. 3, 2020.
Gaspar is racing ahead to November with a large lead over her Democratic contenders, with the second-place candidate and Gaspar's eventual general election opponent just ahead of third.

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UPDATE: 3:01 p.m., March 9, 2020

Incumbent Republican Kristin Gaspar has so far maintained her hold on San Diego County's third supervisor district as two Democratic challengers try to change the rapidly shifting district from red to blue. Far behind her is opponent Terra Lawson-Remer, who is just more than four percentage points ahead of fellow Democratic candidate Olga Diaz.

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Original story

One race may force a historic shift in the San Diego County Board of Supervisors. Incumbent Republican Kristin Gaspar is trying to retain her seat against two Democratic challengers in a rapidly shifting third district. Only two candidates can move on to the general election in the fall.

Democrat Olga Diaz is the first Latina elected to the Escondido City Council. Terra Lawson-Remer, a professor at UC San Diego, is an economist and former member of the Obama administration. She founded the Flip the 49th campaign that ended with Democrat Mike Levin being elected to congress. This is her first time running for office herself.

The two Democrats share similar themes to their campaigns. They would improve on the county’s climate action plan, which has been repeatedly challenged in court. The county has also been criticized for not dipping into its surplus to tackle problems like homelessness. Both Democrats have plans that would be more aggressive than the current board.

Kristin Gaspar (left), Olga Diaz and Terra Lawson-Remer are pictured in this undated photo.
KPBS Staff
Kristin Gaspar (left), Olga Diaz and Terra Lawson-Remer are pictured in this undated photo.

The board of supervisors is officially non-partisan, but Republicans currently hold four of the five seats. The third district is seen as the best chance for Republicans to continue their generation-long control of the County Board of Supervisors. Among the three districts up for election this year, the second district, which runs into the eastern part of San Diego County, still favors Republicans. The first district now leans heavily Democratic, making the third district the best chance for Republicans to keep their generation-long hold on the board.

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The third district runs up the coast from Solana Beach to Encinitas and up Interstate 15 from Interstate 8 all the way to the once reliably Republican community of Escondido. Even in the third district, Democrats hold an advantage in voter registration.

Four years ago, Gaspar she defeated the Democratic incumbent Dave Roberts. She then ran for the Congressional seat held by Darrell Issa and lost in a crowded primary. During the last four years, Gaspar has taken stances that may seem out of step with her district. She appeared at a White House event last year with President Trump, supporting expanding the border wall and voting to support the president’s lawsuit against California’s law limiting cooperation with federal immigration authorities.

The 2024 primary election is March 5. Find in-depth reporting on each race to help you understand what's on your ballot.