Establishment Democrats Attacked Fellow Democrat Saldaña and Promoted Republican Lukacs to Re-Elect Campbell

by on November 14, 2022 · 4 comments

in Election, Ocean Beach, San Diego

Here’s Michael Smolens, renowned U-T columnist, shaking the boat with assertions that San Diego’s establishment “bi-partisan” Democrats attacked fellow Democrat Saldaña and promoted Republican Linda Lukacs in order to get Campbell re-elected (the Rag has been making the same assertions since June):

San Diego City Councilmember Jennifer Campbell may have secured her re-election in June when an independent committee waged a negative campaign against Lori Saldaña, a high-profile San Diego political figure who has served in the Assembly and run for a number of other elected positions.

A Democrat like Campbell, Saldaña is a former chair of the Sierra Club’s local chapter who has a strong following among progressive Democrats, and her criticism of development has appealed to neighborhood groups.

San Diego’s bipartisan political establishment views Saldaña as a disrupter and lined up behind Campbell with an overarching goal of taking down Saldaña in the District 2 council primary. A campaign was launched that both attacked Saldaña and promoted Linda Lukacs, a little-known Republican dentist and political neophyte.

That helped Lukacs finish second in the primary and advance to Tuesday’s election with Campbell in the heavily Democratic district. Though vote-counting continues, Campbell held a comfortable lead as of Friday and, short of an abrupt change in the tally trend, will be elected to a second term.

Smolens also stated that this type of move of trashing “a more feared adversary — permeated the 2022 election,” — but that it raised ethical questions along with concerns that the move may backfire. Other pundits have criticized the type of move as being “anti-democratic” and detrimental to free elections. ‘Oh well,’ says Smolens, it’s “a time-honored maneuver in politics.” And we should expect to see more of it.

We should note that there’s been no public criticism of what happened by the San Diego County Democratic Party.

At least somebody is paying attention.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Geoff Page November 14, 2022 at 5:34 pm

This was exactly the conclusion I came to during the campaign. The only real money spent on Lukacs during the primary came from a PAC, around $150k. Her own group spent about $8,000. They wanted Saldaña gone and Lukacs diluted the vote sufficiently such that Saldaña barely lost out. I have voted for Democrats my whole life but this one election really showed how they are no different than the Republicans.


John w Stump November 15, 2022 at 12:24 pm

Yellow Dog Democrats need to own up to the consequences of their vote Only Democrat policy. Jen Campbell was the leadership that renewed the SDG&E 20-year franchise for the highest utility bills in the Nation! Jen Campbell was the leadership that bought the 101 Ash SDG&E building! Jen Campbell is part of the leadership that is scheming to build a new $5 Billion dollar tenancy Municipal Palace. At the end of her term some $25% of the City Budget will be committed to debt and the City will have no funding to provide neighborhood, homeless, or basic infrastructure, unless your taxes are increased. Renter housing will get more unaffordable as every fee for trash, water, sewer, and the rest will be added to the rents. Yellow Dogs can often be rabid and not the best for your household.


Joni Halpern November 15, 2022 at 7:31 pm

I am very disappointed that Councilmember Campbell allowed this strategy to be undertaken on her behalf. I think it shows a willingness to set aside values of decency and respect in order to recognize one’s own ambition to occupy public office. Would Jen Campbell have been able to win if she had faced Lori Saldaña instead of a novice politician with no record of achievement? I have not taken any official surveys, but friends and neighbors who gladly voted for Councilmember Campbell in her first election have come to regard her as remote, disconnected from her constituents, and not a strong advocate for our neighborhoods. I personally have written her on occasion about community issues and never received even a confirmation that she got the email, let alone that anyone read it. I know others in neighborhoods she serves who have had the same experience. Perhaps she saw the only sure pathway to winning this election was to accept the help of folks who are unencumbered by decency. At least we know where she stands.


Geoff Page November 15, 2022 at 9:29 pm

What Ms. Halpern said. I particularly liked ” unencumbered by decency.”


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