Mayoral candidate Barbara Bry speaks to the media on Election Day in La Jolla. Photo by Chris Stone

While there are still an estimated 64,000 ballots left to count in San Diego County, the race to become the city of San Diego’s next mayor ended Monday when City Council President Pro Tem Barbara Bry conceded to her opponent, Assemblyman Todd Gloria.

Gloria leads Bry by 73,889 votes, with 56.14% of voters casting a ballot for him and 43.86% for his opponent.

Gloria, 42, is the first openly gay and first person of color to be elected to the position in San Diego.

“I want to congratulate Todd Gloria as the next mayor of San Diego. He and I spoke by phone yesterday, and I offered him my congratulations,” Bry said in her concession statement. “But for the next few years, our city faces many challenges because of COVID-19, and Mr. Gloria will have a tough job. Thousands of San Diegans are unemployed through no fault of their own and city revenues are declining.”

Gloria responded in kind to Bry’s concession.

“I want to thank Councilmember Bry for her service to our city and I wish her and her family well,” he said. “It is time to put the campaign behind us and come together as San Diegans to resolve the many challenges we face. Voters have embraced my vision of creating a city that works for all of us. It’s now time to turn that vision into reality. I am honored to be the next mayor of San Diego.”

In her concession remarks, Bry said she acknowledged the difficult challenge Gloria will face when he replaces Mayor Kevin Faulconer, who was barred from running for re-election because of term limits.

Bry also pointed a finger at election coverage which she said strayed from the issues as a reason for her loss.

“I wish those issues could have been more central to the mayoral campaign,” she said. “We certainly tried to make them the focus of our communications. Unfortunately, interest groups supporting my opponent took a different approach.

“Perhaps inspired by the `fake news’ rhetoric coming out of Washington, they spent over $2 million on TV commercials and mailers cynically designed to fool voters into thinking they were sponsored by our campaign,” she said. “In times past, dishonest advertising of that sort would have been called out by responsible journalists, and voters would have been made aware of these cynical tactics. But the media — like many citizens — has become so desensitized to such tactics that they no longer pique their interest. And, unfortunately, these dishonest attacks clearly impacted our campaign.”

Bry, 71, was elected to the San Diego City Council in 2016 to represent District 1, which includes the communities of La Jolla, Carmel Valley, Torrey Pines, University City and Del Mar Heights. She is a La Jolla resident who has called the city home for nearly 40 years. Before joining the council, she was a journalist and tech entrepreneur. She holds a master’s degree in business administration from Harvard University.

Gloria is a Mission Hills resident and a third-generation San Diegan of Filipino, Native American, Dutch and Puerto Rican descent. He was elected to the San Diego City Council in 2008 and served until 2016, including two years as council president and six months as acting mayor after Bob Filner resigned amid numerous sexual harassment claims. He became the 78th Assembly District seatholder in 2016.

Updated at 12:15 p.m. Nov. 9, 2020

–City News Service

Chris Jennewein

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