CHULA VISTA, Calif. (CNS) - For the first time in eight years, Chula Vistans will have a new mayor this fall as they choose from six candidates in Tuesday's primary election to replace the termed out Mayor Mary Casillas Salas.
Casillas Salas, Chula Vista's first Latina mayor, will be replaced by either Ammar Campa-Najjar, Zaneta Encarnacion, John McCann, Rudy Ramirez, Jill Galvez or Spencer Cash in the nonpartisan race.
Campa-Najjar, a Democrat, served in various roles within President Barack Obama's administration, including a public relations position in the Employment & Training Administration. He unsuccessfully ran for Congress in East County, once in 2018 against Rep. Duncan Hunter and again in 2020 against current Rep. Darrell Issa. He has been endorsed by Chula Vista Firefighters and several local unions. His priorities include the Bayfront development in west Chula Vista and bringing a four-year university to east Chula Vista.
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Encarnacion, a Democrat, is the chief of staff at Southwestern College and has endorsements from Casillas Salas, San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria, Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins and the Democratic Party of San Diego County. Her priorities include economic recovery from COVID-19 and providing more affordable housing in the city's neighborhoods.
Cash is a retired Army major who served two decades as "a medical evacuation helicopter pilot and medical operations officer" and is focused on balancing Chula Vista's budget.
McCann, a Republican, is a city councilman for Chula Vista and deputy mayor. He has been endorsed by the city's Police Officers Association. His focus is on increasing public safety in the city and making it an attractive environment for business.
Galvez also serves as a city councilwoman representing northwest Chula Vista and served as deputy mayor in 2020. She serves on the Board of Directors for MTS and the Metropolitan Wastewater Joint Powers Authority. Her priorities include increased public safety, speeding up progress on city issues and ending the toll on State Route 125. She has been endorsed by the San Diego Union-Tribune's editorial board.
Ramirez is a former city councilman and a small business owner. He last held office in 2015 and unsuccessfully sought a role on the Chula Vista Elementary School District board in 2014 and the city council's District 4 seat in 2016. His priorities include addressing homelessness, stopping domestic violence, developing the city's economy and cross-border relations.
The two receiving the most votes will advance to November's runoff election.