Jen Campbell Endorsed by Union Council; Local Democratic Party Withholds Vote – Times of San Diego

San Diego Councilwoman Dr. Jen Campbell gives a COVID-19 shot to Arthur Johnson, a worker for Coca-Cola, in 2021. Photo by Chris Stone

San Diego Councilwoman Jen Campbell was endorsed this week by the influential San Diego & Imperial Counties Labor Council, but failed to get a “friendly incumbent” endorsement vote by the local Democratic Party,

Campbell, a board-certified physician, is seeking a second term on the council, but has been criticized by activists in District 2 for supporting redevelopment of the rundown Midway District and a compromise ordinance allowing short-term vacation rentals.

Brigette Browning, executive secretary-treasurer of the council representing 136 union locals, said in a statement Feb. 28 that Campbell “has always had working people’s backs.”

“In her first term, Dr. Jen protected workers from unfair layoffs during COVID, was a strong voice for fair pay for essential city workers and she’s always fought to ensure local tax dollars create local jobs for San Diegans, not out-of-state workers,” Browning said.

But on the same day, the San Diego County Democratic Party withdrew a planned endorsement because there weren’t enough votes.

Competing Democratic candidate Lori Saldaña, a former member of the state Assembly, said the lack of an endorsement by the local party indicates “deep dissatisfaction” with Campbell.

“The decision to withhold a vote confirmed what my volunteers and I often hear while walking in District 2 and talking with residents: There is deep dissatisfaction with the current councilmember,” said Saldaña.

Another candidate, Joel Day, also claimed credit for blocking an endorsement.

Nevertheless, Campbell has racked up endorsements from some of the most influential Democratic lawmakers in California, including Mayor Todd Gloria, Rep. Scott Peters and Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins.

Saldaña, who is a member of the local party’s central committee, said withdrawal of the endorsement vote for Campbell was the result of “weeks of coordination and organization between Democratic Club members, activists” and her campaign. 

After Day and Saldaña, in separate news releases, claimed credit for blocking a party endorsement of Campbell, county Democratic chairman Will Rodriguez-Kennedy rebuked both via Twitter.

“The party bends to no individual candidate or elected,” he wrote. “The caucus met, discussed, and have decided to wait. Anything else is ego / political [posturing].”

Neither. It’s blatant political spin. The party bends to no individual candidate or elected. The caucus met, discussed, and have decided to wait. Anything else is ego / political postering. There are great challenges our county is facing ain’t nobody got time for that.

— Will Rodriguez-Kennedy (he/him/his) (@WillRK787) March 3, 2022

Dan Rottenstreich, a campaign consultant for Campbell, also weighed in.

“The reality here is Dr. Jen Campbell trounced a Republican incumbent to win this district by 16 points, beat back a right-wing Republican recall last year and has earned the endorsement of Mayor Todd Gloria, the Clairemont Democratic Club, the San Diego Labor Council and nearly every San Diego Democratic leader because of her proven record protecting public health and moving San Diego to 100% renewable energy,” he told Times of San Diego.

Rottenstreich said Campbell doesn’t have time for “unnecessary food fights among a small set of Democratic Party activists, most of whom don’t even live in the community. She’s too busy vaccinating San Diegans against COVID, cracking down on short-term rentals and getting ready to beat the Republicans come November.”

Updated at 11:20 p.m. March 5, 2022

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