DeMaio likes to attract attention. He has plenty of it from opponents. – Michael Smolens

Police and firefighter unions, Republican elected officials and others wage independent campaigns against radio talk-show host DeMaio in Assembly race

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Carl DeMaio has crossed a lot of people in his various political endeavors. He’s being reminded of that daily in his campaign for the state Assembly.

The radio talk-show host is being opposed by a rare coalition that spans the political spectrum: labor unions, police and firefighter associations, Democrats, Republican elected officials, the state and local Republican parties, and even some real estate interests.

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The top financial supporters listed on one mailer attacking DeMaio include the California Professional Firefighters, California Correctional Peace Officers Association and the California Apartment Association.

At least five independent campaign efforts are aligned against him. DeMaio, a prolific fundraiser, has a substantial campaign war chest and is also benefiting from his statewide organization, Reform California.

DeMaio is running in the 75th Assembly District, a sprawling East County conservative district that almost certainly will elect a Republican, likely either DeMaio or Andrew Hayes, an aide to state Sen. Brian Jones, D-Santee, who has been endorsed by the Republican Party.

Incumbent Republican Marie Waldron is termed out this year.

A contested primary in a solid Republican district might not typically attract labor involvement but DeMaio changes that equation. Also contributing to the anti-DeMaio cause is the California Labor Federation, which is led by Lorena Gonzalez, who as a San Diego labor leader has clashed with DeMaio for years.

The Peace Officers Research Association of California is also spending money to defeat DeMaio. PORAC is headed up by Brian Marvel, the former president of the San Diego Police Officers Association who also has clashed with DeMaio.

DeMaio has been virulently anti-union and as a member of the San Diego City Council spearheaded a voter-approved ballot measure that did away with pensions for most municipal workers, except police officers, hired after July 20, 2012. The measure was overturned in court about a decade later and the city is now working to restore pensions to affected workers.

DeMaio envisioned that public employee pension bans would take hold across the state, but that never happened.

He also backed a related five-year pay freeze for city employees and restrictions on other benefits for employees, including police officers, that were not affected by the court rulings.

DeMaio maintained pensions were too generous and were bleeding money from government budgets.

He’s familiar with opposition from labor and said that doesn’t faze him. “I wear that with a badge of honor,” he said in an interview.

As for Hayes, DeMaio said, “This guy is backed by corrupt forces in Sacramento” — both Republican and Democrat.

Jones, who is the Senate Republican leader, is backing independent efforts for Hayes and against DeMaio. So are Waldron, county Supervisor Joel Anderson and Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Bonsall. Issa defeated DeMaio in a contentious 2020 race for an East County-centric congressional district.

DeMaio also lost races for mayor in 2012 and for Congress to Rep. Scott Peters, D-San Diego, in 2014 after serving one term on the City Council.

Clearly, DeMaio’s opponents don’t want him in the Legislature or, it seems, any other elected office. But their first order of business appears to be getting the lesser-known Hayes through the primary on March 5.

There are no guarantees in politics, but DeMaio seems poised to advance to November. He is being hit with negative mailers, contending he’s a “Never Trumper” and that he supported “defunding our first responders.”

In turn, DeMaio says he backs former President Donald Trump, and maintains Hayes is being propped up by Democrats and labor unions. Both have claimed they are the strongest on border enforcement and are the more conservative candidate. At times, they’ve mimicked Trump’s penchant for giving opponents derogatory names.

“‘Amnesty Andrew’ Hayes can’t be trusted on illegal immigration,” says one mailer backing DeMaio.

In a campaign release, Hayes accused “Crooked Carl DeMaio” of using donations to his Reform California committee for the Assembly race.

Beyond the attack pieces to dissuade Republican voters from supporting Hayes, DeMaio is making an appeal to Democratic voters, sort of. DeMaio’s campaign has been promoting the Democratic Party-endorsed candidate, Kevin Juza.

It’s an increasingly common campaign tactic to boost a perceived weaker opponent in hopes they will outdistance a stronger one in the primary.

The anti-DeMaio forces have responded in kind, though so far not in a big way. They made a small ad buy on Facebook to promote Democrat Christie Dougherty in an apparent effort to dilute the DeMaio-juiced Juza vote — which, in theory, could help Hayes.

This is becoming quite a tangled web.

Also running are Democrat Joy Frew and Republican Jack Fernandes.

Click here to read the full article in the SD Union Tribune


  1. It is worth noting that DeMaio was a negative voice in Gubernatorial candidate Travis Allen– claiming all sorts of Stop the Gas Tax actions that were all lies and talk.

    Similar to his stance (in the past) against Trump, Allen was truly feared by the left and the last big chance for saving CA.

    • John Smith says

      Oh please. Travis Allen has strengths and weaknesses and made some waves for a while. But to say he was “the last big chance for saving California” is ridiculous.

  2. It sounds like DeMaio’s pissing off all the right ppl. He was right about pensions. San Diego City even had to sell our stadium land – in the public trust for over 150 years – to pay the pensions. California turned left years ago and you seem to be blaming Carl DeMaio … We haven’t had good conservative leadership here since Pete Wilson. You aren’t going to make the region red again by blending in with the libs. To actually be supporting an aid to a Democrat 🤷 ?!

  3. The truth is that the state GOP and Democrats have a backroom deal to establish a one party rule. It doesn’t matter if there is an R or D next to the name as long as it is someone willing to go along with their “one party” policies in office. Anyone, whether it’s DeMaio or you, will get ripped apart by both parties to ensure their policies and agendas continue without interruption. The question to ask yourself is WHY the GOP won’t endorse a candidate that they know so well but will endorse a carbon copy of Brian Jones.

  4. I don’t care if Demaio is running………as long as it’s not a mentally ill democrat or RINO!!! I’m getting quite sick of these pedo sickos.

  5. Prior to DeMaio injecting fiscal responsibility into city government, there was very real speculation about the City of San Diego filing for bankruptcy. Labor unions are an insidious influence in San Diego, spending millions to elect local city council members, who cast votes on much larger regional boards. That’s the big prize, and only DeMiao has stood up to them.

    Brian Jones, who is not a bad guy, is simply trying to install his staffer yes man into the Assembly. But there’s no evidence that anyone other than Carl DeMiao will shake things up in Sacramento. He’s an activist for the conservative cause who has overshadowed other ‘go along-get along’ Republicans. Only DeMiao resembles Donald Trump, in that he will take bold steps speaking truth to evil.

    DeMiao is not only a “talk show host.” He had a successful business career before entering politics. What other Republican has organized an effective statewide PAC with actual accomplishments? Only DeMiao.

    California needs shaking up, if only to expose the cabal of Democrats, and a few Republicans, who are only candidates for their own personal purposes.

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