Georgette Gomez campaign kickoff
Georgette Gómez at her Congressional campaign kickoff on Saturday morning. Photo courtesy of the campaign

San Diego City Councilwoman Georgette Gómez launched her campaign Saturday to represent the 53rd Congressional District with a rally at a union hall in the Rolando Village neighborhood.

Since first being elected to the technically nonpartisan council in 2016, Gomez has become one of the most powerful Democrats in the city. She has served as the council’s president since being unanimously appointed to the position last December. She is also the chair of the Metropolitan Transit System.

Gómez has overseen a Democratic supermajority that has shepherded multiple ordinances intended to spark housing growth, combat homelessness and reduce the city’s carbon footprint.

“I’m so proud of what we’ve accomplished in San Diego from new transit to expanded affordable housing to stepped up environmental protection.  I’m ready to keep fighting for the people, from a place where I can have an even greater impact,” she said at the rally at the United Domestic Workers Union.

Rep. Juan Vargas joined her at the rally, and she has also received endorsements from state Senate President Toni Atkins, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, San Diego City Attorney Mara Elliott and Chula Vista Councilman Steve Padilla.

“My mission and passion have always been serving our community and that’s who I’ll fight for in Washington, DC. We’ve got to take our country back from Trump,” she said during the rally.

Gómez is the first LGBTQ Latina to serve on the City Council. Prior to holding public office, she was a longtime community organizer for the Environmental Health Coalition, where she led the Toxic Free Neighborhoods Campaign to protect children from lead paint and keep polluting industries out of residential communities.

Speculation about her potential run for the 53rd District came shortly after Rep. Susan Davis announced last week that she would not seek re-election to the seat. Gómez did little to calm that speculation with a Twitter post saying she was “strongly considering” a bid.

“The outpouring encouragement I’ve received to run for Congress has been inspiring,” Gomez wrote Sept. 5. “A wave of true grassroots energy is exactly how we’re going to beat Trump and deliver bold progressive change.”

Gómez officially filed papers with the Federal Election Commission to run for the district on Sept. 11.

She joins a race that already includes U.S. Navy veteran Jose Caballero — who had planned an insurgent run to Davis’ left — community organizer Joaquin Vazquez and Sara Jacobs, a policy advisory and a granddaughter of Qualcomm co-founder and former chairman Irwin Jacobs, who finished third in the 2018 primary for the 49th District.

All four candidates are Democrats vying for a safely blue seat. The Cook Political Report’s Partisan Voter Index rates the district as a lock for Democrats; former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton won the district by 35 points in the 2016 election.

The district includes La Mesa, Lemon Grove, parts of El Cajon and Chula Vista and central San Diego neighborhoods like Hillcrest, Mission Hills, North Park and Grantville.

Updated at 4:20 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019

— From Staff and Wire Reports

Chris Jennewein

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