Shirley Weber Easily Beats Underfunded Mary England in 79th Assembly District

England, the CEO at La Mesa Chamber of Commerce, gave up Lemon Grove City Council seat.

Updated at 3:30 p.m. Nov. 7, 2012

Republican Mary England couldn’t overcome history, demographics and a huge fundraising disparity in her bid to represent the redrawn 79th Assembly District.

Instead, Democrat Shirley Weber—a San Diego State University professor and former San Diego school board member—became the first black woman from San Diego elected to the state Legislature.

With all 295 precincts counted, Weber claimed 60.3 percent of the vote to 39.7 percent for England, the retiring Lemon Grove councilwoman. England lost by 21,460 votes.

England, who also serves as president and chief executive officer at the La Mesa Chamber of Commerce and sits on several boards, said the past few months have been grueling.

She was at a Lemon Grove City Council meeting Tuesday night.

“I’ve had three full-time jobs the past several months," she said before the voting began. 

Assemblyman Brian Jones—who helped persuade England to run and who easily won re-election himself Tuesday in the 71st District—said: “Unfortunately, (England) could not compete with the money that was raised by her opponent.” 

Weber collected $407,147 from Jan. 1 through Oct. 20, and she spent $405,765, according to state filings. England collected $79,755 during that period and spent $57,967.

Said Weber: “Fundraising is often a reflection of the support you have from the public. And a lot of my financial support comes from individuals in the district.”

England’s donors included Assemblyman Jones ($3,900), the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation ($2,000), EMS Management LLC (two $2,000 contributions), EDCO Disposal ($1,500), Marcel Becker of JCI Metal Products ($1,000), California Nations Indian Gaming Association Protection Fund ($1,000), businessman and former Chula Vista Councilman David Malcolm ($500), Mark McMillin of the Corky McMillin Cos. ($500) and La Mesa Councilwoman Ruth Sterling ($100), according to the Secretary of State’s Office.

Weber’s donors included the Barona Band of Mission Indians ($3,900), the Association of California State Supervisors ($3,800), the California Association of Highway Patrolmen ($2,500), Charlena James of the California Nurses Federation ($2,000) and CDF Firefighters ($2,000).

Other donors to Weber were Walgreens ($1,500), Assemblywoman Toni Atkins ($1,000), University of San Diego professor Roy Brooks ($1,000), Thella Bowens of the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority ($200) and San Diego Community College District Chancellor Constance Carroll ($200), according to the Secretary of State’s office.

The 79th District includes Lemon Grove and La Mesa, along with parts of Spring Valley, Chula Vista and San Diego. Democrats outnumber Republicans by more than one-third in the district, with nearly 1 in 4 voters declining to record a party preference when they registered.

Weber indicated her focus in Sacramento will be on education, saying: “It is a passion of mine.”

“But I’m also going there to fight so we can create more jobs,” she said. “I will continue to work with our business community and our high-tech community to do what we can to put people back to work.”

Jones said he helped recruit England to run for the seat because “she had the willingness and energy to do it, and that’s really the most important thing. She also is well-known in both La Mesa and Lemon Grove, so she had a strong base of support in the district.”

Said England: “It’s a brand new district. It's an open seat. And it’s in my back yard, so to speak. I thought it would be a great opportunity to serve.”

Weber and England earned the right to face each other in the Nov. 6 election by finishing in the top two in a June primary that also included Chula Vista  Councilman Rudy Ramirez, business executive Matt Mendoza, educator Patricia Ann Washington and longtime community activist and Democrat Sid Voorakkara.

Weber secured 30.5 percent of the vote in the open primary; England was favored by 29.1 percent of those casting ballots.

About one-third of those living in the district are white, one-third are Latino, nearly 19 percent are Asian and more than 10 percent are black, according to the Registrar of Voters Office.

Saul Rubinowitz November 07, 2012 at 06:28 AM
this might be a little bit of "Monday Morning Quarterbacking", but being seen with those two Stooges (Anderson & Jones) was her demise. I like Mary and what she has done with the La Mesa Chamber, but...........with this new district and the way the wind is blowing it was clearly going to be Dr Webers night.
LG Joe November 07, 2012 at 06:31 AM
It says a lot when the mayor, Art Madrid, who has served on the La Mesa City Council for over 20 years, and as Mayor for some time, would endorse a democrat and opponent of La Mesa Chamber of Commerce president May England, endorses her democratic opponent. May England can hang up her political ambitions now. Forever.
David B Secor November 08, 2012 at 04:49 AM
The 79th District couldn't ask for a better representative in Sacramento than Dr. Shirley Weber. Having spoken at length several times with Dr. Weber, it's clear she is as qualified, as prepared and as dedicated to service as any representative at any level of government that I have ever met. One would expect some sense of ambition, some sense of ego, some feeling of a drive for personal power in any politician. Dr. Weber is remarkable in that those traits are not in her character or her disposition. The people of the 79th District wanted the best and they got it. Both they, and the people of California, are blessed to have Dr. Shirley Weber in the Assembly.
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