Ray Ellis cites Trump for conceding city council race to Barbara Bry

Ray Ellis

SAN DIEGO — Unable to see a “viable path to victory” in the general election, businessman Ray Ellis Friday dropped out of the race for the City Council District 1 seat, which represents Carmel Valley, Del Mar Heights, La Jolla and University City.

The decision by Ellis, who earned a spot in the runoff by placing second in the June primary, means high-tech entrepreneur Barbara Bry will almost certainly take the seat in December. She’ll replace council President Sherri Lightner.

Ellis’ decision to step away from the race also all but assures a 5-4 majority for Democrats on the technically nonpartisan panel. The council members agree on the vast majority of items that come before them, but partisan politics occasionally arise.

In a statement sent to supporters, Ellis said Republican registration is down in the district and Democratic numbers are up.

“That and other factors at the top of the ticket contributed to a 17 percent swing for Democrats in District 1 compared to the June 2012 primary,” Ellis said.

“Back then, Republicans enjoyed a 4 percent turnout advantage in District 1,” he said. “This past June, Democrats enjoyed a 13 percent advantage.”

Bry won the primary election in June with 48.4 percent of the vote, just short of the majority needed to win office outright. Ellis gained 33.9 percent.

Four years ago, Ellis actually won more votes than Lightner in the primary before coming up short in the general election.

“As we look to November, I believe the toxicity and the divisiveness at the top of ticket will get worse,” Ellis said. “My values are important to me and I will not support presidential candidate Donald Trump.”

He said that without a viable path to victory, he couldn’t in good faith ask supporters to finance another effort.

“After much thought, I have decided my time is better spent getting back to work as a community volunteer,” Ellis said. He has served on numerous boards and committees in the past.

In a statement, Bry thanked Ellis for his commitment to public service and being a passionate advocate for important issues.

“I look forward to seeing how he will continue his track record of civic engagement,” Bry said.

“Vigorous debate is the foundation of democracy, and I believe more points of view contributed to a more diverse and constructive debate,” she said. “I plan on continuing our volunteer-driven, grassroots campaign and listening to the needs of the residents in La Jolla, University City, Del Mar Heights and Carmel Valley through neighborhood coffees and knocking on doors.”

City Clerk Elizabeth Maland told City News Service the race will remain on the ballot in November, per the City Charter.

Bry said that means she still needs to win this fall, as well as organize for creating a strong team after the general election.

Read MoreBry likely to face Ellis in runoff for city council seat

Here is the full statement from Ellis: 

I want to thank my supporters for all their efforts on our campaign. It’s been a pleasure getting to know so many people in District 1.

From the beginning, I have said I entered this race to have a positive impact on San Diego – that is what I have been doing for years through my volunteer work.

City Council elections are officially non-partisan, as they should be. There is no Republican or Democratic way to address the numerous opportunities and issues facing our City. Most voters, however, have little bandwidth for local elections, and many rely on party affiliation when casting their vote.

We know Republican registration is down in District 1 and Democratic registration is up. That and other factors at the top of the ticket contributed to a 17% swing for Democrats in District 1 compared to the June 2012 primary. Back then, Republicans enjoyed a 4% turnout advantage in District 1. This past June, Democrats enjoyed a 13% advantage.

As we look to November, I believe the toxicity and the divisiveness at the top of ticket will get worse. My values are important to me and I will not support presidential candidate Donald Trump.

Due to these conditions, I do not believe there is a viable path to victory in November’s City Council runoff. Without a viable path, I cannot in good faith ask supporters to finance another effort. After much thought, I have decided my time is better spent getting back to work as a community volunteer.

Although I am withdrawing my candidacy for City Council, I will always work to make San Diego a better place. Gina and I are San Diegans first and foremost. We love it here and we will always do whatever we can to support our City and everyone who calls it home.

I believe I can have the greatest impact on important issues like homelessness, education, foster children and issues in our neighborhoods, with organizations like Neighborhood House Association/Head Start, The Parker Foundation, San Diego Social Venture Partners and my community planning board. Instead of raising funds for my campaign, I urge supporters to visit my website at http://www.ellisforcouncil.com and consider supporting organizations that Gina and I believe in and support.

I want to thank my supporters and my family. I also want to congratulate Ms. Bry and her family on her success. I want to extend any assistance to Ms. Bry that I can offer. I wish her the best of luck moving forward.