District 7 San Diego City Council candidate Jose Caballero held a Veterans for Bernie sign on the stage. Photo by Chris Stone
District 7 San Diego City Council candidate Jose Caballero held a Veterans for Bernie sign on the stage. Photo by Chris Stone

Voter registration efforts over the past five months gave a boost to Democrats headed into Tuesday’s primary election, while other parties stagnated or lost ground, according to figures released Wednesday by the San Diego County Registrar of Voters Office.

San Diego political consultant John Dadian told City News Service that the Democratic surge stemmed from excitement among some voters for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and the fact that his opponent, Hillary Clinton, still hasn’t clinched the nomination.

Democratic registration in the county rose from 35 percent of the electorate to 37 percent since the first of the year, and in raw numbers from around 490,000 to about 562,000 by the end of Tuesday — a gain of 72,000, the registrar’s data show.

By comparison, Republican registration rose from 462,000 to 491,000, a pickup of 29,000 voters. The share of GOP voters remained the same as at the beginning of this year, at 33 percent.

Those who declined to state a party preference declined from 27 percent to 26 percent.

In the city of San Diego, Democrats added 37,000 registered voters to push their share from 39 percent to 42 percent. While Republicans gained not quite 10,000 new voters, the GOP percentage dropped from 26 percent to 25 percent. Undeclared voters fell from 30 percent to 28 percent.

“It’s a combination, not just of Bernie increasing participation and excitement — which is absolutely true — but it’s a combination of his participation and the fact that it’s a close race with (Clinton),” Dadian said. “If he was just on the ballot, yes, there would still be excitement, but the fact that actually California’s going to make a difference in the Democratic primary I think is the major factor.”

Dadian said he believes the growth of Democratic registration within the city of San Diego will be too small to head-off a reelection of Republican Mayor Kevin Faulconer next week — in a technically nonpartisan race.

According to the figures, minor parties in San Diego County were unable to capitalize on the unpopular Democratic and Republican presidential front- runners. The Libertarian Party totals a little over 12,000 voters in the county, about the same as before, while the Green Party lost about 1,200 registrants to fall to 5,452.

–City News Service