SD Rostra

‘This race between Ray Ellis and Sherri Lightner could be a real game changer’

There is a segment that ran yesterday on KOGO (95.7FM/600AM) we think is worth sharing because it touches on an important political storyline that has yet to gain a lot of traction. Tony Manolatos, a communications consultant and Rostra contributor, and KOGO’s LaDona Harvey discussed the race between Ray Ellis and Sherri Lightner for the San Diego City Council District 1 seat. You can listen to the segment here (fast-forward to the 21:11 mark), or read the transcript:

LaDona Harvey: I want to talk about the City Council race that is really going to be key to what’s going to happen next. We focus on the mayor’s race…but when it comes down to it, this race between Ray Ellis and Sherri Lightner in District 1 could really change the balance of power on the council and that could be a real game changer.

Tony Manolatos: Absolutely. If Ray wins there will be five Republicans and four Democrats on the City Council and that will give the Republicans a majority. So, say for example Bob Filner is elected mayor, the Republicans are still in a pretty good spot because they control the City Council, which they haven’t in a long, long time. And Ray has a good a good shot. Sherri Lightner is an incumbent and an incumbent hasn’t been beat in the City of San Diego in a long time, but if anybody can do it I think Ray can. He’s a really impressive candidate and she’s just not shown a lot of fire in the belly.

LH: Well, the other thing is the labor unions won’t back her. And generally they go for the Democrats and they really back them. But they said, ‘Ya know. She’s really not done a whole lot for us.’

TM: Yeah, with so much at stake Ladona that’s what I find really kind of wacky.

LH: That’s the thing! I know! Right?!

TM: Right! The balance of power on the 10th floor — that’s where city council is and the mayor is on the 11th floor — the balance of power on the 10th floor is at stake and they’re still saying, ‘Yeah, no. Sherri’s not our candidate.’

LH: Well, you know what’s interesting is Ray Ellis was on the pension board. He’s a really smart guy. And he’s a guy, I think, that has not made a lot of enemies and was in a position where he could have made a lot of enemies.

TM: Right. He’s a moderate, coastal Republican. He has a really, really good story. A very successful businessman who is retired and basically now what he’s been doing is serving as a volunteer — on the pension board, he’s a philanthropist, he raises millions of dollars for local charities. There’s a lot to like about this guy, and he has friends on both sides of the aisle. So I think labor feels like, ‘Yeah, we could probably work with Ray and we don’t really like Sherri because of Walmart and some other votes that didn’t go our way.’ But instead of quietly sitting out of the race, they actually campaigned against her in the primary.

LH: I know! Really surprising! That race is really going to be a make or break race. It’s much like — we always concentrate on the presidential race, but the purse strings are held by Congress.

TM: And selfishly, for people like us — pundits, radio hosts, journalists and communications strategists — I mean, wouldn’t it be great to have a Bob Filner administration and a Republican City Council? Boy, talk about drama every day at City Hall.

LH: You know, I hate to say it, but it would be awesome.

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