Chris Ward with a San Diego trolley. Campaign photo

The primary election is still six months away, but candidates for San Diego City Council and County Supervisor picked up major endorsements on Thursday.

The city’s largest organized labor group today endorsed Chris Ward for next year’s City Council race in District 3, which covers downtown, Hillcrest and North Park.

Ray Ellis

Ward, chief of staff for State Sen. Marty Block, is seeking to replace Councilman Todd Gloria, who is being termed-out and is running for State Assembly.

The endorsement came from the San Diego Municipal Employees Association, which represents 4,000 mostly white-collar workers.

Michael Zucchet, the union’s general manager, called Ward a “clear choice” after interviewing several candidates in the race.

“Chris understands the challenges city government faces in recruiting and retaining qualified employees, and he understands the importance of building a relationship with employees built on mutual trust and respect.”

In the June primary, Ward will face Anthony Bernal, a longtime member of Gloria’s staff; Scott Sanborn, an aspiring lawyer who served in Afghanistan and Iraq as a Green Beret; Joseph Brown and Susana Hernandez.

The San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce also offered endorsements Thursday, opting for Ray Ellis for the District 1 race to replace termed-out Sherri Lightner, over Barbara Bry and Joe LaCava.

The chamber also endorsed Encinitas Mayor Kristin Gaspar for the supervisor seat currently held by Dave Roberts. Escondido Mayor Sam Abed is also running.

Earlier this year Roberts was the subject of allegations by three former staff members, who resigned over what they said were improprieties in the supervisor’s office. They were later awarded $310,000 in compensation.

City News Service contributed to this article.

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.