Sept. 25 2012 12:10 AM

Dear liberals: No matter what the presidential polls say, show up and vote the whole ballot

Scott Peters, Dave Roberts, Bob Filner, Sherri Lightner

The way Mitt Romney’s going, there may not be much urgency for California liberals to vote on Nov. 6. That would be bad news for left-leaning candidates in tight races further down the ballot. Polls show Barack Obama with a 20-point lead over Romney in California, but close calls in the national popular vote and crucial swing states could boost turnout here nonetheless. If Romney’s campaign continues to sputter, progressives seeking local offices could be in trouble.

FiveThirtyEight, the respected poll aggregator, currently has the two most influential fickle swingers, Ohio and Virginia, in Obama’s column, giving Obama a 77.7-percent chance of winning the election with 309 electoral votes (he needs 270), up 2.9 percent since Sept. 17.

We hear the local Democratic Party is coordinating field efforts to link Obama and down-ballot candidates. That’s encouraging, and we’d like to help. And, so, we’re going to ask for your help in increasing the number of votes cast for Scott Peters, Dave Roberts, Bob Filner and Sherri Lightner.

Peters, the former San Diego City Council president, a centrist Democrat, is running in the 52nd Congressional District against Republican incumbent Brian Bilbray, who appears to think the best strategy is to avoid having to debate Peters. Peters will be solo on stage on Saturday morning, Sept. 29, at Politifest because Bilbray doesn’t want to debate.

Currently, the Republicans hold control of the U.S. House of Representatives, and the Tea Party holds control of the House Republicans. Philosophically, we like the idea of a strong opposition party, but not these folks. A Peters election chips away at the Tea Party’s influence on the nation’s future. The 52nd District stretches from Coronado and Downtown north to La Jolla and then northeast across Clairemont, Kearny Mesa and Tierrasanta up to Carmel Valley, Mira Mesa, Rancho Bernardo and Poway.

Seemingly since the beginning of time, Republicans have held all five seats on the nonpartisan county Board of Supervisors. Democrat Dave Roberts, deputy mayor of Solana Beach, represents the real chance to inject some new, more progressive blood into that body. He’s running against Republican Steve Danon, who happens to be Bilbray’s chief of staff, in the 3rd District, which comprises northern San Diego plus Del Mar, Solana Beach, Encinitas and Escondido.

Of course, the highest-profile local race will decide the next mayor of San Diego. While the other races we’re covering here involve candidates closer to the political center, the mayor’s race presents a choice of polar opposites. Bob Filner is among Congress’ most liberal members, and Carl DeMaio is as anti-government and fiscally conservative as they come—and though he’s gay, he’s cozying up to some fiercely anti-gay characters and is pandering to anti-immigrant voters.

DeMaio is trying to fool voters into thinking he’s a centrist, with talk of bike plans, environmental protection and compassion for those who use marijuana as medicine, but that’s not the DeMaio we’ve been covering for the past eight or so years. Filner will be a mayor who truly tries to expand the middle class and finally brings environmental- and social-justice advocates into halls of power.

The June primary election left the nonpartisan San Diego City Council with four Democrats, four Republicans and one seat up for grabs. That seat is in District 1, where the incumbent Democrat Sherri Lightner faces a tough challenge from Republican Ray Ellis in a region that includes Carmel Valley, Del Mar Mesa, University City and La Jolla. Ellis’ election would swing the City Council to a DeMaio type of governance—one that demonizes public service.

If you’re a liberal—even if you lean only ever so slightly to the left—vote on Nov. 6, no matter what the national polls say. And continue down the ballot. More importantly, when you’re socializing with friends and talking about the presidential election, or chatting with likeminded co-workers, don’t just talk about Obama and Romney; talk up the local candidates. Post on social media. Spread the word. Boost turnout.

If you fail, and the conservatives don’t, we have two words for you: Gary Kreep.

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