California Assemblymember Todd Gloria won his race for mayor of San Diego, becoming the first openly LGBTQ+ person and first person of color elected mayor of California's second-largest city and the nation's eighth-largest.
Gloria was part of a blue wave in San Diego, a city growing into another major Democratic stronghold in California, even with a sizable military presence and influence. Gloria, replacing a termed-out GOP mayor, was in a runoff election with another Democrat, Barbara Bry, who he defeated on Tuesday. San Diego voters also ousted Republicans on their City Council, where Democrats will soon control eight of the nine council seats.
As mayor of San Diego, Gloria will be the most powerful gay male mayor in the nation. Chicago, the nation's third-largest city, has a Black lesbian, Lori Lightfoot, running it.
"It is an uphill battle for LGBTQ people of color to be in a position to run for high-level office, much less win, so Todd’s victory is a pivotal moment for San Diego and the country," said Annise Parker, the out former mayor of Houston and current CEO of the LGBTQ Victory Fund, which trains and promotes LGBTQ+ politicians. "Todd shattered a rainbow ceiling and is now the second-highest ranking LGBTQ mayor in the country. His voice and his impact on critical issues — and especially civil rights — will extend far beyond the boundaries of his city and state. Todd will undoubtably become a role model for many LGBTQ young people who too rarely see someone like them in a position of power."
Gloria is a member of the California State Assembly, a former member of the San Diego City Council, and a former interim mayor of San Diego. Gloria, 41, has Filipino, Dutch, Puerto Rican, and Native American ancestry and is the first person of color and first openly LGBTQ+ person elected mayor in this city of 1.4 million.
Gloria endured antigay smear tactics during his mayoral campaign, which resulted in threats on his life. Gloria was endorsed in his race by California Gov. Gavin Newsom and vice-presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris.
Immigration, infrastructure, transportation, and homelessness are Gloria's mayoral priorities, he told The Advocate last year. As mayor of San Diego, a city straddling the U.S.-Mexico border, Gloria hopes to expand ports of entry into the U.S.; he has also critiqued Donald Trump's border wall.
“The president’s policies on immigration and border enforcement are woefully misguided,” he said.