2-minute voter guide: District 4 county supervisor special election
Voters in San Diego County's fourth district should have received ballots last week for the special election to fill the seat left vacant when Supervisor Nathan Fletcher resigned in scandal this spring.
Why it matters: Though only fourth-district residents have a say, the race will determine partisan control of the Board of Supervisors, after Fletcher’s resignation nullified a Democratic majority won in 2020. Before that, Republicans controlled the county for decades.
- The county is San Diego's largest local government, with a budget $3 billion larger than the city's.
Be smart: Check your district with this county registrar tool.
- Four candidates are running. Unless one receives over 50% of the vote, the top two move to a November general election.
- You must register by July 31 to vote by mail. After that, you can still register at a vote center and cast a provisional ballot.
- If they're postmarked by Aug. 15, mail ballots can arrive up to seven days later and still be counted.
- Registered residents can also put their ballot in one of 29 drop boxes across the district.
- Beginning Aug. 5, D4 residents can vote at any of seven vote centers. On Aug. 14, the county will open seven more.
Catch up quick: Four candidates are vying for the seat.
- Monica Montgomery Steppe represents southeastern San Diego on the City Council. In 2018, she became the first person to defeat a Council incumbent since 1992, with a grassroots campaign promising criminal justice reform and community investment. She has been endorsed by the local Democratic Party, major labor groups and California Secretary of State Shirley Weber.
- Janessa Goldbeck is the CEO of a veteran-focused nonprofit, LGBTQ advocate and Marine Corps veteran who unsuccessfully ran for Congress in 2020. She's been endorsed by the Deputy District Attorneys Association, developer advocacy group the Building Industry Association, Sen. President Pro Tem Toni Atkins and U.S. Rep. Scott Peters.
- Amy Reichert is a leader of ReOpen San Diego, which opposes restrictions imposed by San Diego County in response to COVID-19, and vaccine mandates on public employees. Reichert, a Republican, unsuccessfully ran against Fletcher in 2022. She's been endorsed by the county Republican Party.
- Paul McQuigg is a first-time candidate who works for the U.S. Census Bureau and served on the city of Oceanside's police and fire commission before moving to the city of San Diego. He is a Republican and Marine Corps veteran who suffered combat injuries in Iraq.
Between the lines: Just as Fletcher resigned, the board was poised to hire a new chief administrator to run day-to-day operations at the county and its 20,000 employees. His resignation left a 2-2 partisan deadlock, and the county hit pause on filling the position.
- Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez was the county’s top choice for the seat.
- Hiring Chavez, formerly a powerful Bay Area labor leader, would have been the culmination of the remaking of a generation of conservative dominance of the county. The center-right board began changing rapidly after Fletcher's election, dipping into discretionary spending reserves unlike ever before; but making a labor leader the most powerful executive in the agency would represent a major shift.
State of play: Democrats are confident they’ll hold the fourth district seat.
- Democrats outnumber Republicans nearly three to one in the district. There are more decline-to-state voters in the district than Republicans, but Democrats outnumber both combined.
- Fletcher in 2018 defeated former District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, a high-profile figure at the time, by 34 points, and he won his re-election last year by 29 points.
- Still, Republicans had held all five county seats for more than two decades until then. Many San Diego political operatives, blue and red alike, came up in a county in which Democrats could take nothing for granted.
Editor's note: This story has been corrected to reflect that the Deputy District Attorneys Association endorsed Janessa Goldbeck in San Diego's District 4 county supervisor special election, not the Deputy Sheriff's Association.
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