Gay candidate Todd Gloria won the most votes in Tuesday's mayoral primary in San Diego, positioning him well for the general election in November.
With all precincts reporting, Gloria finished with 40.2 percent of the vote, according to City News Service. Scott Sherman was second with 25.2 percent, edging out Barbara Bry, who had 23.6 percent. Under California’s top-two primary system, the two candidates with the most votes for any office advance to the general election, regardless of party, so Gloria and Sherman will face each other in November.
In San Diego, California’s second-largest city, the mayoral candidates are vying to replace incumbent Kevin Faulconer, who is leaving office due to term limits. The race is officially nonpartisan, but Gloria identifies as a Democrat, as does Bry, while Sherman, like Faulconer, is a Republican.
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. Sherman and Bry are both on the City Council. Chris Ward, a gay member of the City Council, won the primary to succeed Gloria in the Assembly.
If Gloria wins in November, San Diego will be the largest city in the U.S. with an openly gay man as mayor. Chicago, which is more populous, is the largest city with a mayor drawn from any part of the LGBTQ community; Lori Lightfoot, elected last year, is a lesbian. Gloria, who has Filipino, Dutch, Puerto Rican, and Native American heritage, would be the first person of color to be San Diego’s mayor as well as its first gay mayor.
Gloria’s priorities include addressing homelessness, developing affordable housing, and improving public transportation and other aspects of infrastructure.
He has received some high-profile endorsements, including those of Jerry Brown and his successor as California governor, Gavin Newsom; the state's U.S. senators, Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris; labor and business groups; the LGBTQ Victory Fund; and Equality California.
“Todd is on-track to make history in November, becoming one of just a handful of openly LGBTQ people ever elected mayor of a major American city,” said a statement issued by Victory Fund President and CEO Annise Parker, who was part of that handful as mayor of Houston. “Both LGBTQ people and people of color face tremendous obstacles when running for public office, but San Diegans overwhelmingly chose Todd because of his strong record of public service and his inspirational vision for the city he wants to represent. Todd will become the third-highest-ranking out LGBTQ mayor in U.S. history when he wins in November and a role model for LGBTQ youth in San Diego and across the country.”
Equality California Executive Director Rick Chavez Zbur likewise released a celebratory statement. “San Diegans should be proud to have advanced two openly LGBTQ+ champions on to the November election,” he said. “Todd Gloria will not only make history this November; he will deliver the bold, progressive and experienced leadership this city needs. Chris Ward will be a strong, effective champion for San Diego County in the California Assembly. Their victories [Tuesday] signal what we already knew: San Diego knows the value of LGBTQ+ representation.”