As of Tuesday night, Alvarez was slightly ahead of Gómez, with 38.4% of the vote to 37.0%. Trailing the two Democrats was Republican Lincoln Pickard with 24.6% of the vote.
The winner of the runoff election on June 7 will succeed influential Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez, who resigned to lead California Labor Federation.
“We are excited to finish the night in first place and this is all thanks to the support we received,” Alvarez tweeted.
“Since day one, we have prided ourselves in being a grassroots campaign and we have been out in our neighborhoods knocking on doors, talking and listening to the community every day and tonight is the reflection of all those efforts,” he said.
Gómez said she was “excited that South County voters strongly supported our campaign tonight and I’m thrilled to be advancing to the runoff” in June.
“In the runoff election, voters will have a stark choice between real change to make San Diego more affordable for working families who are struggling, and the special interest status quo that’s making life harder and more expensive for all of us,” she said.
Alvarez served on the council from 2010-18 and lost to Kevin Faulconer in the 2014 special mayoral election following the resignation of Bob Filner. He started Causa Consulting after being termed out of his council seat.
The former councilman grew up in Barrio Logan and attended San Diego State University. His endorsements include San Diego City Councilwoman Vivian Moreno, National City Mayor Alejandra Sotelo-Solis and former state Sen. Denise Ducheny.
Gomez was a council member from 2016-2020 and lost a House race to Sara Jacobs in 2020.
Like Alvarez, Gomez grew up in Barrio Logan and attended San Diego State University. She was endorsed by Gonzalez, San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria, San Diego County Supervisors Nora Vargas and Nathan Fletcher and the California Democratic Party.
The district includes National City, Chula Vista, Imperial Beach and the San Diego neighborhoods of San Ysidro and Otay Mesa.