California National Guard troops in La Mesa early Thursday morning. Courtesy OnScene.TV

Congressional rivals Sara Jacobs and Georgette Gómez on Thursday decried the deployment of National Guard troops in San Diego County.

Jacobs called the deployment of California National Guard troops in the 53rd District she seeks to represent “an unnecessary escalation of tensions.”

“San Diego is a proud military community, and we know just how important it is to only send our troops where they are absolutely needed. Calling in the National Guard to San Diego County is an unnecessary escalation of tensions,” said Jacobs in a statement.

Minutes later, fellow Democrat Gómez said in statement that most protesters in San Diego have been peaceful.

“The property damage that we saw this week was committed by a small group of people intent on violence and disruption, who do not represent the vast majority of protestors,” she said. “My heart goes out to those small-business owners who sustained damage and I am ready to assist in the rebuilding process however I can.

“Calling out the National Guard is not the answer. Military uniforms patrolling our streets sends the wrong message. As most jurisdictions work day and night to reduce tensions and maintain calm, the Sheriff’s Department risks increasing tensions by bringing the National Guard into our city.”

Gómez noted that the California National Guard plays a crucial role in responding to disasters, but “we are not facing a disaster today in San Diego County. We are facing a situation where thousands of our residents are understandably angry and speaking out and a small minority are choosing violence.”

She said responding to the violence requires a targeted law enforcement response, not the deployment of military.

“To restore the peace, we need dialogue, understanding and real action to address the concerns of protestors. We’ve started the journey toward justice by banning the carotid chokehold countywide. I’m glad the Sheriff joined us in taking that action. Today, I call on the Sheriff to join us in reducing tensions by revoking the request for the National Guard.”

Several hundred troops were deployed in the San Diego area Thursday morning to support police in La Mesa and deputies around the county after a request from Sheriff Bill Gore.

The request came following a protest over alleged police brutality on Saturday night that turned violent, with shops looted and buildings burned in the center of La Mesa.

“The protests throughout San Diego County, just like protests all across the country, have been overwhelmingly peaceful. President Trump’s draconian policies have no place in our community and are a threat to our fundamental rights and to our democracy,” said Jacobs. “I call on Sheriff Gore to send these troops home and let the people of this county exercise their First Amendment right to peaceful protest.”

Jacobs, a former Obama administration advisor, will face San Diego City Council president Gómez in the November election to replace Rep. Susan Davis in the 53rd District, which includes La Mesa and surrounding areas.

Updated at 2:37 p.m. June 4, 2020