SAN DIEGO – For nearly a decade, Lorena Gonzalez served California’s 80th State Assembly District, casting a long shadow from her work writing bills centered on labor rights to picking fights with Tesla CEO Elon Musk.

Now that she’s found a new statewide role, voters soon will go to the polls to select her replacement.

Three candidates — two Democrats and a Republican — will appear on the ballot for Election Day on April 5. Voting has already begun for many San Diegans as every active registered voter receives a ballot in the mail prior to Election Day under the state’s Voter Choice Act. See FOX 5’s full guide to the election here.

Below is an introduction to the candidates on this election’s ballot, with the winner serving out the remainder of Gonzalez’s term through December.

Democratic challengers

The race’s two Democrats, listed in alphabetical order:

David Alvarez

David Alvarez. (KSWB photo)

Alvarez, 41, has been a known figure in local politics for more than a decade, having previously served as a member of San Diego City Council and unsuccessfully running for mayor in a special election against Kevin Faulconer in 2013-14.

He announced his intentions to run for Gonzalez’s seat in December “to represent this community that I was born in and where we are raising our children.”

In his return to politics after several years away, Alvarez told FOX 5 the state isn’t headed in the right direction, citing the price of gas, the homelessness issue and access to education for students.

“When you get elected to office, you’re supposed to be a problem-solver,” he said. “That’s the job. On the education front, for example, we need to make sure we fund programs throughout the summer, after school and even like Saturday school so our kids can regain the loss of learning that occurred over the last two years. That’s gonna have to be a huge investment, an investment in education we haven’t really seen in a long time.”

He’s picked up a number of key endorsements in his run, his website shows. They include the Union-Tribune Editorial Board, the San Diego County Medical Society and the National Union of Healthcare Workers as well as a number of local leaders such as National City Mayor Alejandra Sotelo-Solis, San Diego City Council member Vivian Moreno, La Mesa City Council member Colin Parent and Jason Wells, the CEO of the San Ysidro Chamber of Commerce.

Watch his full interview with FOX 5’s Aric Richards below:

Georgette Gómez

Georgette Gómez. (KSWB photo)

Another figure with local name recognition is Gómez, the 46-year-old former San Diego City Council president. She last ran for public office in 2020 to represent California’s 53rd congressional district, but lost the race to fellow Democrat Sara Jacobs.

This time around, she enters with the endorsement of Gonzalez and a number of major players in local politics, including San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria, San Diego County Board of Supervisors Chair Nathan Fletcher (who is married to Gonzalez) and board Vice Chair Nora Vargas.

Gómez told FOX 5 she has been “working for this district my entire life and improving neighborhoods,” from issues such as housing to the environment. The most critical issues, according to Gómez, deal with the state’s economy in helping with the housing crisis and bringing down the state’s rising cost of living.

She said serving as council president gave her experience working with others to meet the needs of her constituents.

“Being able to negotiate and respond to my colleagues’ needs, to really move the city forward, I feel like that gave me strong experience to be able to be strong in the state Assembly (and) at the state level,” she said.

Watch her full interview with FOX 5’s Raoul Martinez below:

Republican challengers

Only one Republican has announced a bid to run for the seat:

Lincoln Pickard

Lincoln Pickard. (Photo courtesy of Pickard campaign)

Despite running campaigns for state and local seats for the past decade, Pickard has never been elected to public office. He last ran in 2020 in the nonpartisan primary election for the 80th State Assembly district, where he was beaten by Gonzalez and Republican John Vogel. Pickard, who is listed as a retired contractor, also unsuccessfully ran for San Diego City Council in 2014, losing to Alvarez.

Reached by email, Pickard told FOX 5 that the price of gas “is one of the most important issues because it (affects) everybody.”

“California has the oil in the ground to bring the price down substantially,” he said. “My goal would be $2.00 per gallon.”

His website also spells out a number of other priorities, such as fighting for the Second Amendment, ending COVID-19 mandates and fighting against President Joe Biden, Gov. Gavin Newsom and other prominent Democrats he says are “damaging our people, our economy.”