Chula Vista
Downtown Chula Vista / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

One of the most important elections this year in San Diego — with implications across the region — is the race for mayor in Chula Vista. And the importance of it shows in the interest it has drawn from donors.

Roughly two thirds of individual contributions supporting Chula Vista’s mayoral campaigns have come from outside the city, according to the latest filings covering all of 2021.

Donations and endorsements are the only significant data we can get about how the race is shaping up. Candidates are touting their popularity with donors and dismissing their rivals’ success with claims about how many donors they’ve gotten and how many are local. After Planetcob recently posted the contributions and cash flow totals of the five major candidates, several readers asked if we could dig deeper in those numbers.

Republican John McCann, who serves on the Chula Vista City Council, reported that 22 out of 110 contributions he received last year came from Chula Vista residents. He also gave $65,000 to his own campaign and received $1,240 from the Republican Party of San Diego.

Ammar Campa-Najjar, who raised about $109,000 last year, received contributions from 19 states. Similar to McCann, less than a quarter of his itemized contributions came from Chula Vista. Roughly $20,000 of the funding he received were contributions of less than $100, which do not require itemized reporting.

Graphic by Megan Wood / Planetcob

Overall, filings show Chula Vista’s mayoral campaigns have so far received more than 850 donations from outside the city, including dozens of contributions from San Diego, Bonita, La Jolla, El Cajon and Carlsbad.

Zaneta Encarnacion, chief of staff to Southwestern College President Mark Sanchez, received the most individual contributions last year. Of 515 donations, about 35 percent came from Chula Vista residents.

“You just never know if your experience as a community leader is going to translate over, if those relationships will transition over and lead to financial support and I’m just so grateful and pleased that they have,” she told the Politics Report last month.

Encarnacion received the Democratic Party endorsement.

Of all the candidates, Rudy Ramirez and Jill Galvez had the highest proportions of local donors, with 56 percent and 49 percent of their individual contributions coming from within the city. Galvez also donated about $48,000 to her own campaign.

If you enjoy reporting like this, become a Planetcob member to get access to the weekly Politics Report written by our editors Andrew Keatts and Scott Lewis. See an example of their reporting on Chula Vista’s mayoral campaign here.

Megan is Planetcob’s director of marketing. She is responsible for producing and overseeing strategies that extend the reach of the organization....

Scott Lewis oversees Planetcob’s operations, website and daily functions as Editor in Chief. He also writes about local politics, where he frequently...

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  1. Often using percentages as a measure is misleading. So while Jill Galvez's and Rudy Ramirez's campaigns each received a higher percentage of local donations from CV, together that totaled 137 donations, while Zaneta Encarnacion received 177 local CV donations all by herself.

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