With Campbell in Lead, District 2 Challenger Too Close to Call

by on June 8, 2022 · 26 comments

in Election, Ocean Beach

When polls closed Tuesday night, District 2 incumbent Jen Campbell had the lead with not quite 31% of the vote. Linda Lukas, the Republican dentist, had over 25% with 5300 votes versus Democratic challenger Lori Saldaña with 18% and 3780 votes – a mere 1520 votes apart.

But with 250,000 ballots yet to be counted County-wide, the challenger race was too close to call. The next tally will not be announced until Thursday, June 9, by 5 pm.

Local activist Mandy Havlik came in with 8% and 1700 votes and Joel Day from Clairemont had 13% and 2700 ballots.

Despite an amazing 70% of the voters in D2 voting for someone else, Campbell had this to say last night:

“It’s clear from our strong first-place finish that voters want a council member who builds consensus to move all of San Diego forward, just as I did in forging the landmark compromise to deliver common sense regulations in short-term vacation rentals,” she said.

Any incumbent who cannot even garner 50% in a race cannot say they’ve achieved a “strong first-place finish.” In contrast, in District 4 incumbent Monica Montgomery Steppe had over 70% of the vote with nearly 7800 ballots in her favor, and in District 8 incumbent Vivian Moreno had almost 63% of the vote with 5600 ballots. (There was no incumbent in the District 6 race.)

The Voice of San Diego agreed it was too soon to call the race:

It’s a good-news, bad-news situation for Campbell. She took first place easily, with a nearly 10 point gap over the closest challenger. But as of midnight, the former Council president had just 31 percent of the votes of the constituents she has represented for the last four years, which could indicate vulnerability in November.

Facing her is likely to be Linda Lukacs, a dentist and the lone Republican on the ballot, who has 25.06percent of the vote as of 10 pm Tuesday. Former Assemblywoman Lori Saldana could still catch her, but she’ll need to make up a 6.8-percentage-point gap as the Registrar continues counting votes in the days ahead.

Allies of Campbell had spent in support of Lukacs because they believe she’ll be easier to beat. (That sort of bank shot doesn’t always work.)


{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

Sam R June 8, 2022 at 9:22 am

Tough morning.


Flustercluck June 8, 2022 at 10:29 am

I guess we get the leadership that we deserve……Astoundingly disappointing.


Frank Gormlie June 8, 2022 at 12:31 pm

An OB community leader wrote the Rag:

“Someone needs to investigate Linda Lukacs connection to Jen Campbell’s campaign. I live in OB and have been deeply involved in local politics here for the past 6 years that Linda has had an address here and never heard of her prior to this primary, nor does anyone else that I know.

I found zero google hits prior to 2022 on her other than her dental or real estate practice. She has an address in Sunset Cliffs that appears to be legitimate. Republican insiders obviously know Linda has no chance at victory, so it’s clearly a shill to ensure Jen Campbell doesn’t have to face any of the Dem candidates.”


Sam R June 8, 2022 at 2:54 pm

Hey Frank I’m just a lurker but I gotta say that’s a pretty lame excuse from whoever suggested that. Sometimes you just lose? And perhaps the commentators on this website aren’t actually representative of the district at large? Maybe palm trees, bike lanes and constituent services aren’t motivating factors for people? Be disappointed in the outcome if you want but not everything is a conspiracy. Campbell was an incumbent with a ton of money. She was clearly going to win.


Frank Gormlie June 8, 2022 at 3:10 pm

Sam R – it ain’t over yet. But ya gotta admit there was a gang-up on Saldana by both Democrats and Republicans in all those mailers. And your current mayor, a Dem, has been linked to the group that published those GOP mailers that were pro-Lukas and against Saldana.


Frank Gormlie June 8, 2022 at 3:12 pm

Also, there doesn’t have to be an actual “conspiracy” if monied interests act on their own behalf. But there’s a lot of snookery that goes on behind the scenes, such as the city council agreeing to not divulge that Campbell supported SDG&E until after the Primary.


Sam R June 8, 2022 at 3:20 pm

But what does that have to do with “Linda Lukacs is a plant from the Jen Campbell campaign”?

And it’s over Frank, Lori’s vote total has decreased with each update. It’s gonna be Campbell and Luckas.


Frank Gormlie June 8, 2022 at 6:21 pm

There hasn’t been an update since last night. The next official one is not until Thursday.


Frank Gormlie June 8, 2022 at 6:27 pm

Sorry, Sam, you’re not getting any of the accusations of voter suppression, of the establishment maneuvering to counter their main threat: Saldana? How come no one has ever heard of Lukas before this primary? Community leaders who have been involved in local politics for years don’t know anything about her. What about Democrat Gloria’s ties to the very group that sent out hate mailers against Democrat Saldana in the name of Republican Lukas? There’s just too many questions and it ain’t over yet.


kh June 8, 2022 at 8:59 pm

Nobody’s questioning Campbell’s vote tally, it was expected she’d get enough votes considering the money spent on mailers and the mayor’s support. (I’ll say that 30% has to be an historic low for an incumbent though.)

The question is where and why this Lukacs came out of seemingly nowhere to help ensure a Jen Campbell victory in the general election.


Frank Gormlie June 8, 2022 at 1:21 pm

Anyone remember when Gloria ran for mayor in 2020, “everyone” thought Republican Scott Sherman was going to be his challenger … but then Barbara Bry inched out Sherman when all the ballots were counted.


Tessa June 8, 2022 at 2:00 pm

Very disappointed in these results – clearly appears to be a gang up against Lori.


Octavian June 8, 2022 at 4:21 pm

Lori Saldaña has lost her last three races so could it be the case that voters just aren’t crazy about her?

I don’t really understand the hate for Campbell. She pushed through an ordinance that regulates STVRs which seems like the kind of thing the OB rag cares about. Not that regulating STVRs is going to do much to help with affordable housing as it is kind of a red herring.


Frank Gormlie June 8, 2022 at 6:23 pm

Why not do some research on these here ol’ OB Rag pages; do a word search in our search bar on Campbell for starters.


Octavian June 8, 2022 at 6:27 pm

I’ve done a search through the OB rag pages. Your hate for her is inconsistent. I am by no means a shill for the woman as I don’t even live in the district but it seems like there is very little that could be done that would make the OB Rag happy.

It seems like the writers at the rag have this starry-eyed nostalgia for a San Diego that was but not longer is. We’re just not a sleepy little town by the beach anymore and haven’t been for decades.


Frank Gormlie June 8, 2022 at 6:57 pm

I’ve done some research myself and have found that in your comments here, your hate for the Rag is consistent.


Geoff Page June 8, 2022 at 8:27 pm

“We’re just not a sleepy little town by the beach anymore and haven’t been for decades.” Wow! I did not know that, Captain Obvious.


Geoff Page June 8, 2022 at 8:25 pm

The ordinance she pushed through legalized thousands of what were illegal vacation rental businesses. How will that be enforced? How was that a victory? She said she would fight to protect the 30-foot height limit and then supported lifting it. Ask anyone who has emailed her if any of them ever got a response. It should be obvious to anyone paying attention why she is not popular with much of her district.


Sam R June 8, 2022 at 8:55 pm

Geoff, pretty funny reading this comment from a guy who thought wall to wall palm tree coverage was going to impact this election and get Lori across the finish line. At the end of the day the commentators on this page, many of whom I respect when it comes to their convictions, are simply out of touch with what actual problems there are AND how politics works, as much as I hate to say it.


Geoff Page June 8, 2022 at 9:04 pm

Well, you lost me there Sam, what did coverage of the palm tree issue have to do with the election? And, I think it is a bit arrogant to declare that all these people don’t know what problems are out there and don’t understand politics, but you do. Differences of opinion are based on many things, that is a vast over-simplification.


Sam R June 8, 2022 at 9:10 pm

Geoff, in your mind, what do you believe are/were the main issues for D2 voters? Also, what do you think is the biggest determining factor in why someone votes for a candidate? I am saying this very sincerely and am truly interested in your answer. I’ve read almost everything you’ve read, you’ve covered a lot of this race and I’m really interested in your response.


Geoff Page June 9, 2022 at 1:58 pm

Well, Sam, the ones already mentioned, the height limit, the STVRs, and the vendor ordinance. The homeless problem is a very big issue, especially at the beaches and parks. Transparency in government. Citizen involvement instead of top-down dictation by the administration.

Most people vote by party, so that explains a lot of it. It certainly explains why Linda Lukacs, a complete unknown, got the second spot, Republicans refused to vote for a Democrat. For Saldaña, two things, legislative experience and no obvious ties to this city’s establishment. Joel Day is young and well educated, that would sway some people. Mandy Havlik’s appeal was that she was a complete newcomer. After watching Danny several times, I am at a loss why anyone voted for him.


Sam R June 9, 2022 at 2:48 pm

That’s all very interesting, thank you Geoff.

Where does the cost of housing fit into this? If you were going to rank it among STVRs, vendor’s ordinance, height limit, etc.


Geoff Page June 9, 2022 at 6:24 pm

The cost of housing is a national problem and it is the biggest problem of all. It really has me at a loss. The cost of homes has risen exponentially, even in places where the problem is not supply. Some sort of vicious cycle came into being.

Charging high rent because you paid too much for a property is one thing, but how do you explain those high rates for people who own their properties outright or have owned them for years? They are also charging these ridiculously high rents. I believe the whole real estate game is in for a big implosion, this is clearly no sustainable. When that happens, rents will dropback down as will housing prices. But, that is going to be one big implosion.

I don’t see how any politician can solve that problem. More housing is part of the solution but building anything new now with the cost of land and materials will not result in affordable housing unless people are willing to live in a 200 square foot place. No one wants rent control but maybe that should be part of it.

But, every candidate expressed concern about it, this is an easy issue for everyone to agree on, the solutions are the problem.


kh June 8, 2022 at 9:03 pm

The STVR ordinance was a gift to Airbnb. Campbell’s crew smartly marketed it as a win for housing, based on lies. I can’t give her all the credit though, it was really crafted by VRBO.


Frank Gormlie June 9, 2022 at 5:26 pm

Very latest from County Registrar: Lukacs gains on Saldana by 220 votes.


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