This week, Democratic Rep. Scott Peters formed an exploratory committee for a potential 2020 campaign for mayor of San Diego, California’s second-largest city. Peters’ team said last week that he was considering running for city hall and would “need to make an announcement in the next couple of months.” The primary for both Peters’ 52nd Congressional District and for mayor is in March 2020, so he would need to give up his seat to run citywide. California’s filing deadline is December of next year.
While Peters’ district was competitive turf at the start of the decade, Donald Trump has helped make it a lot more blue. The seat moved from 52-46 Obama all the way to 58-36 Clinton, and Peters won his last two terms in Congress with ease. However, while he’ll will be serving in the majority for the first time in his career, Peters doesn’t sound especially happy in D.C. right now.
Peters, who is a leader of the moderate New Democrat Coalition, voiced frustration with the idea that progressives would challenge conservative Democrats who hold safely blue seats in primaries. He declared that the majority “was not made by turning seats from blue to blue. It was made by those people who turned seats from red to blue,” and, that if Democrats want to keep the majority, “[w]e should not be listening to people who don’t represent that mainstream voter who’s given Democrats the majority.” So apparently, the only members of the Democratic caucus who matter are the people in tough seats, a group that Peters apparently still thinks includes him.
However, if Peters is nostalgic for the days he had to run in difficult elections, he may be in luck if he runs to succeed termed-out Republican Mayor Kevin Faulconer. Democratic City Councilor Barbara Bry also recently filed to run for mayor, and her spokesperson says she’ll comment in the new year. Democratic Assemblyman Todd Gloria, who served as interim mayor for six months after scandal-tarred Mayor Bob Filner resigned in 2013, also reportedly is considering jumping in. Former San Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman, who is not registered with any party, says she’s also thinking about running.
Republicans took some serious lumps in San Diego County last month and their early prospects for holding city hall don’t look great, but the San Diego Union-Tribune’s Michael Smolens writes that GOP Councilors Chris Cate and Mark Kersey have been mentioned as possible candidates. All the mayoral candidates will face off on one nonpartisan ballot in March, and in the likely event that no one takes a majority of the vote, the two candidates with the most votes would proceed to the November general election.