Leading District 8 San Diego City Council candidate Vivian Moreno arrives with supporters at Golden Hall, including Councilman David Alvarez.
Leading District 8 San Diego City Council candidate Vivian Moreno arrives with supporters at Golden Hall, including Councilman David Alvarez. Photo by Ken Stone

Political staffer Vivian Moreno will head to November’s general election race for the San Diego City Council District 8 seat, but two candidates were still battling for the second spot on the ballot.

Antonio Martinez, a District 8 candidate for San Diego City Council, greeted District 2 council hopeful Jen Campbell at Golden Hall. Photo by Chris Stone

Meanwhile, three council incumbents will also move on to the runoff.

Due to a 2016 ballot initiative in San Diego, no City Council candidate can win a seat outright during a primary election, so the top two finishers from each technically nonpartisan race advance to the November runoff.

City Councilman David Alvarez is termed out of his post in District 8, which is geographically split to include Sherman Heights and Barrio Logan near downtown as well as Otay Mesa and San Ysidro by the border.

Moreno, a Democrat who works in Alvarez’s office, attributed her success to a grass-roots campaign that didn’t rely on super PAC money.

“With a group of dedicated and committed volunteers, I knew it was going to be great,” Moreno told KUSI. “… All the money raised was with our hard work — volunteers came out on Saturdays to knock on doors.”

It wasn’t yet clear who will join Moreno in November.

Chris Cate at Golden Hall on June 5. Photo by Chris Stone

With 100 percent of precincts reporting — but many mail ballots outstanding — San Ysidro school board member Antonio Martinez was in second place with 27.7 percent and human rights advocate Christian Ramirez was in third with 25.0 percent, a difference of only several hundred votes. Both candidates are Democrats.

In District 2, which includes beach communities and a section of Clairemont, incumbent Councilwoman Lorie Zapf, a Republican, cruised to the November general with 44.6 percent of the vote. Retired doctor Jennifer Campbell, a Democrat, also appeared to make the runoff with 21.3 percent. Attorney Bryan Pease was in third place with 18.4.

“We’ll just keep doing my job, helping the community and working on the really important issues — particularly, short-term vacation rentals because the beach communities are the ones that are being hit the hardest,” Zapf told Times of San Diego.

“A lot of people throughout the city look at my beach communities as tourist destinations, and they are, but they’re neighborhoods, they’re families, they’re single-family residential neighborhoods. When you have these out-of-town investors coming in and buying up our housing like it’s a Monopoly board, it takes housing away from longterm rentals at the time when we have a housing crisis.”

Incumbent Councilwoman Myrtle Cole, a Democrat, led her race for re-election in District 4 only narrowly ahead of Democratic civil rights lawyer Monica Montgomery. The two will face each other in November.

In District 6, which includes Mira Mesa, Rancho Penasquitos, Kearny Mesa and most of Clairemont, incumbent Councilman Chris Cate, a Republican, held a commanding lead all night. It appears he will be challenged by Democratic broadcaster and environmental advocate Tommy Hough, who was situated firmly in second place.

An incumbent council member hasn’t lost in San Diego since 1992.

— City News Service contributed to this report