Sara Jacobs eyes top rival Georgette Gómez on debate stage at a debate in January. Photo by Chris Stone

The San Diego County Democratic Party said Friday congressional candidate Sara Jacobs is misleading voters by claiming she is “endorsed by California Democrats” in her ballot statement.

Will Rodriguez-Kennedy, chair of the local party, said in a virtual news conference that the party has endorsed San Diego City Council President Georgette Gómez and the language used by Jacobs, though she is also a Democrat with numerous Democratic endorsements, is misleading.

“It’s specifically meant to mislead voters in this election. And it’s sort of a pattern which we’ve seen with this campaign,” said Rodriguez-Kennedy.

In February, before the primary election, Rodriguez-Kennedy issued a similar complaint over the use of the phrase in printed materials. Jacobs, a former Obama administration policy advisor, led Gomez in the primary, 29% to 20%, and has been ahead in recent polls in the race for the 53rd District.

“She can do this, but it’s wrong to do this,” Rodriguez-Kennedy said.

Both candidates have been endorsed by numerous Democrats. Jacobs’ supporters include California Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis and Rep. Eric Swalwell, while Gomez has Sen. Bernie Sanders and state Senate President Toni Atkins in her camp.

“Our campaign ballot statement was approved by the California Secretary of State, with no challenges from the local party or the Gómez campaign, both of which had ample time to do so through formal channels,” said Morgan Hill, a spokesperson for the Jacobs campaign.

“It’s hardly surprising that just two days after an independent poll found Gómez trailing by double digits, their campaign has suddenly decided to create something out of nothing,” added Hill.

Daraka Latimore-Hall, vice chair of the California Democratic Party, said during the press conference that Democrats take pains to officially endorse candidates who fully endorse the state party’s platform, not “random people who have a ‘D’ next to their name.” He said the phrase Jacobs used is a typical strategy employed by political consultants.

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Chris Jennewein

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