Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
KPBS Midday Edition Segments

San Diego County Democratic Leader Discusses 2020 Elections

 January 28, 2020 at 10:27 AM PST

Speaker 1: 00:00 As major elections drawn near the San Diego County democratic party is planning its strategy to win seats. It also aims to get a democratic majority on the County board of supervisors. Joining me is will Rodriguez Kennedy the chair of the democratic party will welcome. Thank you. Thank you for having me. So ballads for the March election will be going out as soon as next week. How is the County democratic party preparing for the primary? Well we are full speed ahead. Um, just over the last week we have been launching our, our grassroots organizing team where we have over 600 volunteers who are doing, who are doing the major work of canvassing. Uh, we launched that from 20 different locations. We are lucky in San Diego County to have one of the most politically effective County parties in the country. We have a cash on hand advantage of five to one over the Republicans. Speaker 1: 00:48 So we are, we're, we're, we're just hitting the ground running. It's going to be a great year for us. And you've recently Cove wrote a letter along with democratic County supervisor, Nathan Fletcher and ahead of the San Diego. And Imperial counties, labor council saying the race for County supervisor district three is the most important race in San Diego County in 2020. Why is that? What makes this race so important for Democrats? Uh, if we take the district three, you have the County board of supervisors, we will for the first time ever be a democratic County on that body. It is one, it is the highest priority of the San Diego County democratic party to actually take that seat back. Um, which is why we are going to hit the ground running. When it comes to the, uh, the general election that in mind then, why was the party not able to make an endorsement in the race? Speaker 1: 01:36 Well, primaries usually lead for candidates to make their cases. And in this case we have two very strong candidates. One of the candidates did get a majority of the votes, but she wasn't, she didn't get the, uh, threshold needed in order to be endorsed. So, um, and that was all good Diaz. Uh, but Tara is a Terra Lawson reamer and Olga are really strong candidates and whoever wins, um, we'll, we will come together in the, in the general election we have a breakfast set up where both candidates are committed and will take the fight to say goodbye to Kristin gas bar. So what are some of the other key races that you believe Democrats need to win this year? Well, um, we have focused our political strategy based on something I call the SANDAG strategy, which is the association of governments. So what that requires us to do is to focus on the County board of supervisors to forecast on the mayor's race and San Diego to focus on the San Diego city council races. Speaker 1: 02:25 We have an unprecedented five open seats on the San Diego city council and also, uh, to uh, to also defend, uh, Carlsbad district one which is all up in the primary. You know, there are other Democrat versus Democrat races that one would imagine. Um, there will be more of those races moving forward. How do you see democratic candidates differentiating themselves from each other to San Diego County voters? Well, it really depends on the region. All politics are local. So each of the cities and each of the different part regions of the County have sort of hyperlocal issues in which candidates tend to focus in on. Um, you'll see some distinctions there. Things like in the mayor's race where the candidates are really general are generally, at least on the democratic side, are generally in alignment. You know, there are things that they might disagree with on sort of the specifics. So for example, on housing policy, whether, uh, w w like what approach to that or in homelessness policy layer, Todd Gloria has embraced housing first. Um, Barbara Brie has decided to go the other way Speaker 2: 03:24 is measure a, which would require a County wide vote on housing projects that currently only require supervisor's approval. Um, one of the issues that's currently driving a wedge within the democratic party, you think Speaker 1: 03:35 I belonged to a, a big tent party. So there are divergent set of opinions on any one issue. Um, the goal here is to sort of remind people that the, the, the conflicts will be over in, in March. Um, we don't tend to just throw people out of our party cause they disagree and there is a very healthy, uh, and honest disagreement among the, uh, our party and among the County over what is the best way to move forward on development and, and where to develop and how to develop and whether or not it's infill or quote unquote sprawl or, and, and, and whatnot. So, um, we're still having a healthy debate about that. I have, I, I, they're both, there are multiple sides and we look forward to see what the people will decide on on March 3rd, Speaker 2: 04:18 the democratic party came out against measure a what went into the decision to come out against measure a Speaker 1: 04:24 well, um, there was a lively debate among our central committee, um, principal argument in terms of where there's consensus because the reality is that both sides had a series of different arguments and charges. And countercharges is that the San Diego County democratic party does not support ballot box planning. And it's the opinion of, of the members of our central committee that this will increase that level. But if there is ballot box planning on issues like a measure B, we will take a position against sprawl development. So you know, it, it is a, again, I don't belong to a party that that just like enforces its, will buy an iron fist. Um, we have a lively debate on these discussions and we try to make the best decisions when we can and sometimes we're going to disagree. Speaker 2: 05:08 And you know, Republican party chair, Tony [inaudible] told us assembly bill five is one of those issues that Republicans will use in the election. Uh, and the GOP has been effective in using certain issues to fire up voters and win elections. Um, what issues do you see Democrats being able to use in this election? Speaker 1: 05:23 Well, I would argue that the GOP has not been effective with that. Um, we saw that with the, uh, the, the measure last year where called a Mio tried to take on the, the tax to, for, for, for, for, for roads and transit. Um, so I, I don't think that that F that that actually is effective, especially while the Republican party's coalition is crumbling. Um, the reality is that San Diego has have a series of issues that are at the top of their mind, including climate change, including housing, including transit and affordability and jobs. And if you talk about those issues from our perspective, we're going to win on the, and you know, this is the first major election since you took over as party chair. Are you bringing any new strategies or new approach as we head into the March primary? Sure. Uh, what you'll see from the County democratic party is that we're now engaging on actual policy. Speaker 1: 06:12 You can see that we've strived, we've aligned our political effort along a actual strategy. So we're doing this. We're not only playing, working harder, we're working smarter. Uh, we are, uh, we are stronger in terms of our, our strategic alliances. Uh, labor is United and they're a partner. We're working with community groups. We are deploying the largest fueled up effort that we've ever deployed, um, in our history. And what you'll see is they're going to do more of that. We're going to do it. We're going to lead from our values. We're going to take, uh, we're going to communicate, communicate those values to the people. And then on March 3rd, they're going to vote. So how will you measure success for the San Diego County democratic party this election season? Well, hopefully we went on elections. Um, that's the best way to tell, to tell the success of the democratic party, but also that, uh, to see how we come together after the primary is going to be really important to determine, uh, whether or not we're going to be able to have the discussions we need to have and maintain the solidarity and unity in our party that we, that we need in order to win the general elections. Speaker 1: 07:09 Because the reality is a lot more of these elections are going to be Democrat on Democrat, while the Republican party slowly fates. I've been speaking with will Rodriguez Kennedy, chair of the San Diego County democratic party. We'll thank you so much for joining us. Thank you. Speaker 3: 07:31 [inaudible].

Ways To Subscribe
Will Rodriguez-Kennedy, chair of the San Diego County Democratic Party, says the party is focused on getting a Democratic majority on the San Diego County Board of Supervisors in 2020.
KPBS Midday Edition Segments