Tony Young, current President of the San Diego City Council and Councilman from District 4, announced that he would be resigning his office to take over as CEO of the American Red Cross San Diego-Imperial Counties Chapter. Voice of San Diego reports that his resignation will trigger a special election, leaving the opportunity for the Republican Party to lean the Council Republican:
Though the city council is generally considered nonpartisan, Young’s resignation will at least temporarily throw off the city council’s current political balance. With Young, Democrats hold a 5-4 majority and are more likely to help incoming Democratic Mayor Bob Filner usher in his new agenda. Without him, the council will be evenly split until the special election and there’s a chance District 4 voters could pick a Republican to take Young’s seat.
It’s a possibility but it’s a long shot. District 4 has long been a patronage seat where the chiefs of staff succeeded the councilmen:
In District 4, the council seat has been passed down to chiefs like a baton. Prior to being elected to the council in 1987, Wes Pratt was county supervisor Leon Williams’s chief. George Stevens beat Pratt in 1991; Stevens’s chief was Charles Lewis. Lewis was elected in 2002; his chief of staff was Tony Young. Young was elected in 2005; his chief of staff is Jimmie Slack, who was, like Pratt, a chief of staff for Supervisor Williams.
My guess is that Jimmie Slack is going to have name recognition and the San Diego Democratic Party machine behind him should he choose to run. Should Slack run, the Republican Party has a great chance to make the Liberty argument to the voters of the Fourth Council District. This is not going to be an easy task, ad the communities in District 4 are deep navy. Mayor-Elect Filner earned 65-75% of the vote there…in the primary.
I think this is a chance for the Republican Party of San Diego to reach out to areas we’ve never gone before. These voters are taken for granted by the Democratic Party machine and we just haven’t made our case to them. If we can find a candidate who appeals to the voters, this special election will be the opportunity we need to do just that. Victory may be unlikely, probably highly improbable, but if we want to start finding new voters, we can’t just breeze into communities during elections. We have start our outreach as soon as possible. Young’s resignation gives us that reason to get moving.
What kind of Republican candidate would appeal best to the voters of District 4? Someone more libertarian-minded? A social conservative? A self-described moderate? I’m interested in your opinions.