How OB’s Gretchen Newsom Decided to Run for Mayor — and Where She’ll Go From Here

by on October 28, 2015 · 6 comments

in Election, Ocean Beach, Organizing, Politics, San Diego

Gretchen newsom camp 3-6-14 mw -ed

Gretchen Newsom at a March 6 fundraiser during her brief Spring 2014 campaign for an appointment to the District 2 seat. Photo by Matthew Wood.

By Matthew Wood

Gretchen Newsom insists her announcement to run in the San Diego Mayoral election at the San Diego County Democratic Convention on Saturday night was anything but scripted.

“I’ve been having many conversations over many months with many people to find someone to run for mayor who would stand up for the voices of the people that need them,”

– the current Ocean Beach Town Council President and neighborhood leader said.

“I was very disappointed with what I heard.”

Call it an epiphany. A moment of clarity. Or even just an inspiration to do what she does best. She calls the decision her time to step up and lead a bigger constituency.

“I was sitting in the audience of the democratic convention and decided right there. I decided in that moment that I could be that spark and provide that leadership. I was in the audience and was just frustrated that nobody stepped up. I decided that I’m going to be that voice. I took a deep breath, walked on the stage, and announced my plan.”

Planned or not, the speech brought down the house, as she received a standing ovation and hugs all around from fellow Democrats in the audience.

“I’ve been told before I can and I should do this, but I really hadn’t given it that much consideration until that moment,” she said. “I was inspired to walk up on that stage. I just said, ‘I’m doing this. I’m really doing this. And this is gonna change things.’”

Now comes the hard part: Actually putting together a winning campaign. She will most likely face a formidable opposition in Republican incumbent Kevin Faulconer, who previously served Ocean Beach and Point Loma as the District 2 City Council Representative.

But Newsom is no newbie to politics. In addition to her role as OBTC President, she also serves as the political director of IBEW Local 569. OBceans most likely know her for her service to the community, as a member of the OB Historical Society and board member of the Point Loma Democratic Club. She also chairs the iconic OB Holiday Parade.

Newsom also ran for Faulconer’s vacant seat after he took over for disgraced former mayor Bob Filner.

She credits her work in the OB community with giving her the experience and ability to take the reigns as head of the city.

“I think one of the things that is really evident with my style is my ability to listen and to lead,” she said. “Based on my experience in OB and engaging with families, you’re going to see a strong support for me. And it’s evident. My phone and e-mail has been blowing up with people who want to volunteer.”

She has already laid out a basic plan for the city in five points, which she calls RAISE San Diego: She wants to create a city that is more Responsive, Affordable, Innovative, Sustainable and Empowering. In politics, who doesn’t love a good acronym? Especially when it actually has a good message behind it.

When pressed to give her most important task as mayor, Newsom said it was to make the city more affordable.

“Increase the minimum wage, more affordable housing and really investing back in working families,” she explained. “Working to get people health care and retirement benefits they deserve.”

Newsom’s announcement will certainly send shock waves through both parties in the city, especially Republicans who must have thought their boy Faulconer – with his ability so far to toe the party line while not pissing off too many others in the city – would have a cake walk through next June’s primary.

“This is a fresh new campaign that is going to be about empowering people,” she said, adding: “We’ll be laying out some additional information in the weeks to come.”

That last line was a recurring theme throughout my conversation with Newsom. When asked what she thought her chances were to win? “We’re going to be unveiling our strategy in the weeks to come.”

How much did she think a campaign like this would cost?

“We’ll be giving more details in the weeks to come.”

Spoken like a true politician. Any doubts that Newsom has what it takes to be on the big stage of city politics should be put to rest with those answers right there.

As for the viability of her campaign? Well, we’ll find out in the weeks to come.

YouTube video of Gretchen Newsom announcing her run for Mayor

Here are more posts on Gretchen:

Just Who Is Gretchen Newsom?

5 Reasons Gretchen Newsom Is Running for San Diego Mayor

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Gristmiller October 28, 2015 at 11:39 am

Gretchen Newsom’s election as mayor of San Diego is entirely possible, an uphill run, but entirely possible.


Butterfly Dadds October 28, 2015 at 10:14 pm

Such a NON SHOCK!!! I envision this to be a real running! In the small notions of minutes I myself have been able to spend with this individual, I wholeheartedly believe she has all the best intentions for this our fine city. Without a doubt, My Vote! Way to go Gretchen!


Colleen Dietzel October 29, 2015 at 10:51 am

I was so excited to hear about Gretchen Newsom’s announcement. After seeing her in action at various social justice and environmental events I know she would be a great candidate. She is the best thing that has happen to the Ocean Beach Town Council. She runs the meetings professionally and with respect to all our representatives and community members. Our biggest challenge in OB is getting our citizens registered to vote and then actually voting. Now, maybe they will have a reason to vote. Thank you Gretchen for stepping up and making the sacrifice to make this a better world.


Doug Blackwood October 29, 2015 at 6:16 pm

The #1 question for Gretchen(drum roll please) is?
Gretchen : what will you do to save rental housing for; working people, Seniors, and low income folks, from becoming “Vacation Rentals”?
Doug B Surf


Doug Blackwood October 29, 2015 at 6:18 pm

When Motel 6 floods OB: where will locals live?


RB October 30, 2015 at 5:43 am

Hopefully she can get the support of Loch David Crane so OB doesn’t split its vote…..


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