SAN DIEGO – Health executive Nora Vargas expanded on an early lead to replace longtime San Diego County Supervisor Greg Cox in a race against state Sen. Ben Hueso.
As of Wednesday morning, Vargas had 55% of the vote, while Hueso had 45%.
Cox, a Republican, has been in office since 1995, representing the district that includes National City, Chula Vista, Imperial Beach and Coronado, along with 19 communities within the city of San Diego, including Barrio Logan and Sunset Cliffs. It also features the unincorporated communities of Bonita, East Otay Mesa, Lincoln Acres and Sunnyside.
Cox and District 2’s Dianne Jacob are both termed out.
Vargas is a vice president of Planned Parenthood of the Southwest and also serves on the Southwest Community College board. In a prepared statement, Vargas said District 1 faces many challenges, from lack of housing to beachfront pollution.
“Now, South County has the highest confirmed count of COVID-19 cases – – we need a representative who will step up and provide real leadership during difficult times,” she added.
Although considered a political novice, Vargas cites her health care background as one reason for voters to support her. Her platform includes more access to affordable health care and housing for residents, climate and environmental justice, criminal justice reforms and women’s equality issues.
The San Diego County Democratic Party and smaller Democratic organizations have endorsed Vargas, as have Reps. Susan Davis and Mike Levin. Vargas has also received support from Planned Parenthood and the Sierra Club.
Hueso, a former San Diego City Council member who has represented Senate District 40 since 2013, touts his governmental experience. In an emailed statement, Hueso, who also is a Democrat, said the county needs a leader with experience.
“During the pandemic, I brought frontline workers the resources to help those in need and expanded access to health care for Californians,” he said.
His main platforms are reducing pollution; improved public/fire safety services, including more funding for the county’s 2-1-1 line; more affordable housing; and job creation.
Hueso has the backing of Rep. Juan Vargas, San Diego mayoral candidate Todd Gloria and various school district officials and unions.