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Maienschein In Rematch With Republican Challenger For 77th Assembly Seat

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Assemblyman Brian Maienschein is challenged by Republican employment lawyer June Yang Cutter in a repeat of the March primary.

Speaker 1: 00:00 In San Diego, 77th assembly district. This is the first time for term assemblymen. Brian main shine will be running in a general election as a Democrat. He's facing a political newcomer, Republican attorney, June yang cutter, and unlike some other races around the County, these candidates disagree on many issues from police reform to the handling of the pandemic. Joining me is KPBS reporter Amica Sharma Amica. Welcome.

Speaker 2: 00:29 It's good to be with you. I'll be at remotely

Speaker 1: 00:31 Remotely. Indeed. Now Brian main Schein has been a well-known Republican politician in San Diego for years from the time he was on the San Diego city council on through to his most recent reelection to the assembly back in 2018 last year, he switched to the democratic party. What does he say about that switch? And is it a big issue in this election?

Speaker 2: 00:55 Well, let me start with the second part of your question, Maureen. It main shines opponent Republican June cutter believes that his switched to the democratic party. It was a political one and she says, he's just out of step with his constituents. But if the March primary is a test or was a test of what she's saying, then she might be wrong. Next month's election is basically a rematch of the March primary. And in that primary main shine got 57% of the vote and cutter got 43%. Now main chances. He had been headed in the direction of the democratic party. For some time. He says president Trump's style of governance. However, just spat up his exit from the Republican party, which he says no longer was in tune with his own beliefs. This is more of what he had to say.

Speaker 3: 01:51 I was very uncomfortable with Donald Trump and everything about them when I saw how he was being enabled as well. It was something that I just felt that I needed to stand up for. And I'm really glad I did

Speaker 1: 02:05 Getting back to the politics of the matter though, back in 2018 main shine won a very tight race against his democratic opponent winning only by about 600 votes. So do we know how much of that race and the changing demographics of the 77th district have played into his party switch? Well,

Speaker 2: 02:25 You know, I think that could have been part of his political calculus, but the way he describes it, um, it was more of an inner transformation and he said he felt like the Republican party just no longer reflected his values. And he seems to be in alignment with people who live in the 77th assembly district. Um, just to remind our listeners, that area includes Rancho Santa Fe, Fairbanks ranch, Poway, and some parts of San Diego. Anyway, Democrats outnumber Republicans Democrats make up about 37% of voter registration in this district. Republicans are at about 30% and the remaining voters are no party preference.

Speaker 1: 03:08 What are the biggest issues in main shines campaign?

Speaker 2: 03:11 Well, right now, uh, it's the pandemic and the fallout from it. Uh, the fact that so many kids aren't back in the classroom yet because of COVID and like everywhere else, people in the district have lost their jobs. Um, main shine and cutter are on opposite sides on how they view the handling of the pandemic. Main shine is critical of president Trump and believes governor Newsome has done a good job and in a sign of his increasing liberalism, you know, I wanted to know during my interview where he stood on a series of police reform bills, there were about six or seven of them. And main shines said, you know, let me make life a little bit easier for you. I back them all.

Speaker 1: 03:58 Okay then. Well, that apparently was one of the reasons Republican June young cutter decided to get into the race because of main shines support of police reform bills on the use of force and otherwise, what are the major issues in her campaign outside of that,

Speaker 2: 04:17 That bill, that cutter reference that main shine supported basically tightened restrictions on when police could use force. Now cutter says the focus on, uh, in her campaign is on social inequities in public education, and she wants to address California's spiraling cost of living. This is how she described it.

Speaker 4: 04:41 Let's talk about why that is. It's not just expensive because we live in a gorgeous sunny state like California. There's a lot of regulations that are placed on various industries, which make the cost of housing and the cost of goods. So expensive.

Speaker 1: 04:58 Just cut her as a Republican support. Donald Trump's reelection,

Speaker 2: 05:03 Maureen, she refused to say, I asked her why. And she said, because it's a divisive point.

Speaker 1: 05:09 Now, as you mentioned, there were only two candidates in the March primary main shine and cutter and main shine won handily. So are pundits expecting a repeat result next week?

Speaker 2: 05:21 They are now Jim Cotter, the things that the gap between her and main shine was wide during the March primary because of strong democratic voter turnout. She thinks Republicans will get out in droves. Next Tuesday,

Speaker 1: 05:35 I've been speaking with KPBS reporter Amica Sharma, and a meta. Thank you.

Speaker 2: 05:40 Thank you, Maureen.

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KPBS Midday Edition Segments

Maureen Cavanaugh and Jade Hindmon host KPBS Midday Edition, a daily radio news magazine keeping San Diego in the know on everything from politics to the arts.