Ray Ellis. Campaign photo
Ray Ellis. Campaign photo

Updated at 9:35 a.m. Aug. 12, 2016

Ray Ellis announced Friday that he is pulling out of the race to represent District 1 on the San Diego City Council, citing “down-ballot” fallout from Donald Trump.

The race is nonpartisan, but Ellis is a Republican, and he said growing Democratic registration in the district and “divisiveness at the top of the ticket” left him without a viable path to victory.

“As we look to November, I believe the toxicity and the divisiveness at the top of ticket will get worse,” Ellis said in a statement. “My values are important to me and I will not support presidential candidate Donald Trump.”

Ellis came in second to high-tech entrepreneur Barbara Bry in the June primary election. The eventual winner will replace council President Sherri Lightner, who is being termed out after eight years.

“Although I am withdrawing my candidacy for city council, I will always work to make San Diego a better place,” he said, adding that he would continue to work with nonprofit organizations to address “important issues like homelessness, education, foster children and issues in our neighborhoods.”

Democrat Bry issued a statement thanking Ellis for his commitment to public service “and for being a passionate advocate on issues critical to the future of our city — pension reform, homelessness and early childhood education.”

“I look forward to seeing how he will continue his track record of civic engagement, and I will undoubtedly take him up on his offer of assistance,” she said. 
“Vigorous debate is the foundation of democracy, and I believe more points of view contributed to a more diverse and constructive debate. In this competitive race, I’m grateful to have had the voices of Ray Ellis, Bruce Lightner, Kyle Heiskala, and Louis Rodolico in the conversation about how we can improve the quality of life in our neighborhoods.” 
Since Ellis’ name will remain on the ballot, Bry said she will continue to hold fund-raisers and meet residents. Her statement listed six receptions in Rancho Santa Fe, La Jolla, downtown and elsewhere, concluding: “Stay tuned for more events”

District 1 encompasses Carmel Valley, La Jolla and University City.

Chris Jennewein

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