Pastors Jurgen and Leanne Matthesius finished the evening with a prayer for Tucker Carlson. The crowd gathered at Awaken Church bowed their heads as Jurgen thanked the lord for Carlson's vision and honesty on April 2, 2022./ Photo by Jakob McWhinney
Fox News pundit Tucker Carlson spoke to a crowd gathered both in the auditorium of Awaken's San Marcos campus and in an adjacent overflow room. His speech contained all of the fiery politics of his talk show, with an extra dose of spiritual warfare./ Photo by Jakob McWhinney

The COVID-19 pandemic changed our world in ways big and small. Few things remained unaltered by the spread of the virus and the shutdowns that followed.

Awaken Church, which has five campuses across San Diego and thousands of congregants, has gone through something of a transformation itself. Though it was never a hub of progressivism, Jakob Mcwhinney explores in a new story how the church has become a nexus of local right-wing political organizing during the pandemic.

After a series of skirmishes with county officials over the church’s refusal to shutdown — the chair of the Board of Supervisors identified the church by name as the site of an outbreak — Awaken began hosting events with high-profile conservatives like Charlie Kirk and Tucker Carlson. It’s also developed alliances with a number of anti-lockdown activists who regularly attend its events.

But that’s not all. Since the start of the pandemic, the church’s lead pastor has begun peppering his sermons with conspiracy theories about vaccines, globalist cabals and coordinated efforts by elites to depopulate the planet. This increasingly radical rhetoric stands out even among the politically charged history of evangelical churches.

Click here to read the profile in its entirety.

Mailers, Guns and the Sheriff’s Race

The Deputy Sheriff’s Association appears to be very concerned that liberal voters aren’t going to get a true progressive Democrat they may want with sheriff candidate Dave Myers.

The union is the primary funder of mailers trying to raise alarm about Myers’ values, Scott Lewis writes in the latest Politics Report. Lewis breaks down this mailer and shares some receipts related to a gun lobby endorsement.

Also, Andrew Keatts reports that Let’s Go! San Diego, the private group that is working to put a sales tax increase to pay for transit, road and highway projects on the November ballot, submitted 165,000 signatures to the County Registrar of Voters.

Read the latest Politics Report here. The weekly newsletter is accessible to Voice members only. Support our newsroom here.

‘Tis the Season For Mailers: Over on the podcast, our hosts talked about some of the campaign materials hitting mailboxes in Chula Visa and what voters say they want out of the municipal government. Our hosts also took a look at the sheriff’s race, which could usher in a Democrat for the first time in at least 50 years of Republican dominance.

While We’re Talking Elections: Union-Tribune columnist Michael Smolens writes the 80th Assembly District contest to fill the seat vacated by Lorena Gonzalez is rife with Democratic intrigue, including surprise GOP spending.

ICYMI: San Diego voters will soon decide on high-profile races like the county sheriff and Chula Vista mayor. They’ll also decide whether to stick with incumbent local officials, state legislators and Congressional representatives.

We know it can be a lot, so our team put together a comprehensive ballot guide recapping local and state races you’ll be voting on. Because it’s the primary, most final decisions won’t be made in June. Instead, the top two vote-getters in most races will move on to the November election.

Engagement editor Megan Woods breaks down the election stories you don’t want to miss. Read her recap of our primary elections stories here.

In Other News

  • The agency tasked with managing the Del Mar Fairgrounds is under fire again over its contracting process. It’s currently wrapped up in a lawsuit that alleges big rigging and favoritism. Now, the Union-Tribune reports that a fairgrounds vendor landed a no-bid contract extension in exchange for a $2 million loan that would go toward the remodel of Surfside Race Place to a new concert hall. FYI this story is for subscribers only.
  • Americans routinely travel to Tijuana for medical procedures — usually because of the cheaper price tag. But with abortion recently legalized in Baja California and the U.S. Supreme Court poised to overturn Roe vs. Wade, one clinic operator told KPBS that abortion services will likely be in demand in Tijuana. (KPBS)
  • The San Diego City Council is set to get an update on the city’s new ambulance service provider, which has continued to deal with staffing challenges since the city approved its contract in June. (Times of San Diego)
  • Hundreds walked the streets of downtown San Diego on Saturday in protest of the potential overturn of Roe vs. Wade. (Fox 5)

The Morning Report was written by Jakob McWhinney, Jesse Marx and Andrea Lopez-Villafaña.

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1 Comment

  1. Dan Smiechowski SDCC D2 Candidate. My views on prior mask mandates, vaccinations and lock downs are admittingly a bit bizarre, but here goes. I am a nudist endurance athlete with compounds in Jacumba Hot Springs, Borrego Springs and Le Havre, France. I was running an event in France when COVID arrived in the United States. Upon returning home, I was appalled at the fear and loathing with miles of cars queued up at Krispy Creme. Rarely if ever for the last 2 years have, I worn a mask. I am nearly 70 years old and not vaccinated. I took my vaccination by listening to my mama in eating healthy, living healthy and getting checked regularly. I am not imposing my beliefs on anyone. If people want to get the needle, it's ok with me. If they request, I wear a mask, I abide by their wishes. My health is my business. IRONIC!!! The SDCC is an extremist private club manipulating all of you! Anyway, I'm a happy old man. I'm full of vigor and vitality. I'm not politically correct so God bless all the young ladies. Dan Smiechowski D2 SDCC Candidate and man of honor, truth, responsibility, honesty and justice.

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