Nancy Casady informally announced plans to run for Congress at the Democratic Party Central Committee meeting on Aug. 13.
Nancy Casady informally announced plans to run for Congress at the Democratic Party Central Committee meeting on Aug. 13. Photo by Ken Stone

In 1996, Nancy Casady ran for Congress but lost in the primary to fellow Democrat Peter Navarro. She ended up supporting the future Trump aide with donations totaling at least $175.

That year, she lost 52% to 31% in a bid to challenge GOP incumbent Brian Bilbray in the then 49th District. (It’s now the 53rd District, represented by Democrat Susan Davis, who ousted Bilbray in 2000.)

But Casady — who with her husband, Derek, once sued AIG and other Great Recession financial institutions — has more in the political bank.

Donations listed in Nancy Casady's last filing with FEC in 1997. (PDF)
Donations listed in Nancy Casady’s last filing with FEC in 1997. (PDF)

The La Jollan is running again for Congress.

On Monday, she announced a primary challenge of Rep. Scott Peters in the 52nd District, saying she’s unhappy with the Democratic incumbent for not fully embracing the Green New Deal of climate change and other programs.

“The truth is we are in a dire climate emergency and it is growing everyday,” Casady was quoted as saying in The San Diego Union-Tribune. “I think it is my responsibility to challenge anyone who does not see the scale and urgency of the problem that we face and the scale and urgency of the solutions we need. I think the Green New Deal offers that blueprint.”

She didn’t immediately respond to a voice mail request for comment.

But Casady, 77, has a background in environmental activism. As a member of the state Board of Food & Agriculture, she calls on her decades as general manager of Ocean Beach People’s Organic Food Market.

“Casady served as the vice president of the National Cooperative Grocers Association and as a member of the national Co-op Development Cooperative during 2007-2011,” said her state bio.

“She is a founding member of the Wild Willow Sustainable Farming Education Center, a working farm in San Diego directed toward training young farmers and providing hands-on growing experiences for students K through 8th grade.”

In 2017, the La Jolla Light recounted how Nancy and Derek Casady organized five climate change rallies in San Diego.

“The average citizen needs to understand that the United States energy policy needs to shift,” Nancy was quoted as saying. “The average person needs to understand the severity of the threat, the need for action, and that in the U.S., when the people speak, policy changes — but we need to speak.”

In 1996, she raised close to $30,000 for her congressional campaign. When she closed the account in March 1997, she cut checks of leftover funds to Navarro — who ended up losing to Bilbray 53% to 42%.

Economist Navarro — who also lost races for San Diego mayor, City Council and the County Board of Supervisors — went on to become an adviser to the Donald Trump campaign and since April 2017 has been the controversial director of Trump’s Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy.

In unwinding her 1996 campaign warchest, Casady also gave $200 to both Assemblywoman Susan Davis for a re-election run and Fran Zimmerman for a San Diego school board drive.

In early 2010, the Casadys were named plaintiffs in a “False Claims Act” suit against AIG, The Goldman Sachs Group, Merrill Lynch International and a German bank. Assigned to federal Judge Gonzalo P. Curiel, the suit was ultimately dismissed.

Meanwhile, Peters is specifying his problems with the Green New Deal, appearing on KPBS and laying out concerns in a Twitter thread after Casady made her announcement.

Updated at 8:35 a.m. Aug. 27, 2019