Voting is underway for the June Primary elections.

One of the most-watched races in North County, is for the state Senate District 38 seat, where Republican Pat Bates is termed out and redistricting last year shifted voter registration heavily toward Democrats. Encinitas Mayor Catherine Blakespear is facing one Republican and another Democrat, and if she goes on to the Nov. 8 runoffs, she could flip the district from Red to Blue. 

Another closely watched seat, though, won’t appear on the June ballot. Voters will have to wait to weigh in on the District 5 county supervisors’ seat, because with only two candidates running, it’s been pushed to an automatic runoff on the November ballot.

Voters will also have to wait until November to weigh in on local city races in North County, but for now, here’s a roundup of the major assembly, state senate and congressional races that will be impacting North County.

38th State Senate District

Four candidates are on the June ballot for the state Senate District 38 seat: Encinitas Mayor Catherine Blakespear, retired Fire Captain Joe Kerr, both Democrats, and small business owner Matt Gunderson, a Republican. The two candidates who receive the most votes will face off in the Nov. 8 general election. Dairy clerk Jerry Ciolino is also running but did not submit a candidate statement to the county registrar of voters.

The newly redrawn district runs from southern Orange County through Oceanside, Carlsbad, Encinitas and Vista south to Carmel Valley, La Jolla, Pacific Beach and Mission Beach. It’s currently represented by Republican state Sen. Pat Bates, who will term out of the state legislature at the end of the year.

Blakespear is the only candidate from the San Diego County side of the district, which accounts for nearly 71 percent of the district’s voters — and a higher share of registered Democrats. She also has the endorsement from the California Democratic Party.

Left to right: Catherine Blakespear, Joe Kerr and Matt Gunderson

Gunderson, though, ended the latest campaign finance reporting period with nearly as much money available as Blakespear — $349,000 as of April 28, compared to Blakespear’s $381,000. Kerr had $57,000 in cash on hand.

All three candidates placed California’s lack of affordable housing as one of their top concerns, but they all have very different approaches to the issue, the Union-Tribune reported.

Under Blakespear’s leadership and before she became mayor, Encinitas has faced multiple lawsuits for defying state affordable housing laws. In 2020, during Blakespear’s term, Encinitas even tried to exempt itself from the state density bonus law, which lets developers build more homes if they agree to provide homes for low-income residents.

Not on This Ballot, But the Next: County Supervisor District 5

Republican incumbent Supervisor Jim Desmond is facing off against Democrat neuroscientist Tiffany Boyd-Hodgson in the high-profile race for the District 5 seat in North County.

With only two candidates running, the district will not go to a primary election in June, but will be decided during the general election in November.

District 5 includes the cities of Oceanside, Vista, San Marcos and Escondido, Camp Pendleton Marine Base and the communities of Fallbrook, Bonsall, Valley Center and Borrego Springs.

Desmond, a retired pilot and former San Marcos mayor, is running for his second term on the County Board of Supervisors. Boyd-Hodgson is a Vallecitos Water District board member who owns a science consulting business.

76th Assembly District

Incumbent Assemblyman Brian Maienschein, a Republican turned Democrat, is vying for the 76th Assembly District seat against two Republican candidates, attorney and small business owner June Cutter and Olivenhain Municipal Water District official Kristie Bruce-Lane.

The newly redrawn district now encompasses many inland communities including San Marcos in the north, Escondido, Rancho Santa Fe, Rancho Bernardo and running south toward Poway. These communities lean Republican or are fairly split. Maienschein, though, has the advantage of incumbency and has held his seat since 2012. He left the Republican Party and became a Democrat in 2019.

Cutter unsuccessfully ran against Maienschein in 2020.

49th Congressional District

Democratic Rep. Mike Levin is facing six candidates, five of them Republicans, in the 49th Congressional District race.

The redrawn district includes Del Mar, Solana Beach, Oceanside, Vista, Carlsbad and Encinitas.

Levin is up against Orange County supervisor Lisa Bartlett, businessman and nonprofit executive Brian Maryott, sheriff’s deputy Josiah O’Neil, Oceanside councilmember Christopher Rodriguez and cybersecurity manager and Airman Renee Taylor, all Republicans, and private nurse Nadia Bahia Smalley, a Democrat. The top two vote-getters will advance to the Nov. 8 general election.

Maryott unsuccessfully ran against Levin in 2020.

50th Congressional District

Democrat Scott Peters, who’s been in Congress since 2013, is facing four opponents for the 50th Congressional District seat. The top two vote-getters will face off in the Nov. 8 general election.

The newly redrawn district covers a portion of north inland San Diego County, including Escondido and San Marcos, and coastal San Diego. The 50th district was previously represented by Republican Darrell Issa and had more registered Republicans than Democrats. The new district now has a higher number of registered Democrats. Issa is now running for re-election in a similar conservative-leaning, East County seat that is now the 48th Congressional District.

Republican Corey Gustafson, part owner of Dogleg Brewing Company; Independent Adam Schindler, a biological researcher and scientific writer in the pharmaceutical industry; and Democrat Kylie Taitano, a software engineer and nonprofit co-founder are all vying for the seat, along with Republican David Chiddick, a coffee shop owner in Escondido.

Chiddick made headlines in 2020 for defying COVID-19 guidelines by keeping his coffee shop open despite public health orders. Chiddick also attended the rally before the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol and posted on social media about it using rhetoric that caught the attention of the Anti-Defamation League.

In Other Election News

  • The San Dieguito Union High School District Board will wait until the November election to fill the vacancy left by Trustee Melisse Mossy’s resignation last month. The board split 2-2 on whether to go through the appointment process to select Mossy’s replacement. With the board’s split vote, the district will have to wait until the November election. (Del Mar Times)
  • A cannabis business tax measure may go before Encinitas voters in November. The City Council is expected to consider a proposal that calls for cannabis retailers to face a tax rate ranging from 4 percent to 7 percent, while cultivation businesses would pay $2 to $10 per square foot based on their canopy area. The city could end up with $800,000 to $1.4 million in annual tax revenue. (Union-Tribune)
  • The Carlsbad City Council rejected proposed ballot measures to increase revenue with either a 1 percent sales tax hike or the legalization of cannabis. Because of the council’s decision, the measures won’t make the November ballot. (Union-Tribune)

Correction: This story has been updated to reflect there are two Democrats and one Republican in the race for state Senate District 38.

Tigist Layne is Planetcob's north county reporter. Contact her directly at or (619) 800-8453. Follow her...

Join the Conversation


  1. There seem to be errors in this article (in Blakespear's favor). You open to say Blakespear faces two Republicans, but in fact, Joe Kerr is a Democrat, which you do mention later. Second, some of the housing lawsuits were filed against residents by Blakespear herself. She tried to claim she wasn't “suing her residents” but the judge seemed to disagree. She lost. You should include that information and not make it seem like Blakespear has valiantly tried to defend Encinitas against housing lawsuits. Quite the opposite. thank you.

    1. It’s frustrating when our news is biased. I’d rather hear nothing at all then hear from a biased newspaper. Makes it harder to make a informed and true decision.

  2. Catherine Blakespear is the worst Mayor I have ever seen and I've lived in NYC, LA and San Diego.
    She is corrupt, vindictive, runs the City as if she were anointed not elected and is a complete developer sock puppet.
    Joe Kerr and Matt Gunderson are superior candidates, either one would be way better than Catherine Blakespear.

  3. Anyone who rides a bike should NOT vote for Woke-spear. Her “corridor of death” has made the 101 in Cardiff insanely dangerous.
    Either Gunderson or Kerr would be a huge improvement over Catherine the horrible.

Leave a comment
We expect all commenters to be constructive and civil. We reserve the right to delete comments without explanation. You are welcome to flag comments to us. You are welcome to submit an opinion piece for our editors to review.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.