Updated at 3 a.m. Wednesday
Republican Mary England of Lemon Grove won a November showdown with Democrat Shirley Weber in the 79th Assembly District by finishing only 160 votes behind in Tuesday’s primary.
Challengers Matt Mendoza and Rudy Ramirez were a distant third and fourth, respectively. Pat Washington and Sid Voorakkara trailed.
With all precincts counted, Weber led with 14,380 (30.03 percent) to 14,220 (29.7 percent) for England, making her first run for public office after being recruited by Assemblyman Brian Jones and state Sen. Joel Anderson.
England led during early results, and said being in the top spot felt great. She said she believes it's her message that put her there.
“People care about business, jobs and the things I talk about,” she said. She pointed to her service as president and CEO of the La Mesa Chamber of Commerce for the last four years, and experience as an elected official as reasons for pushing her ahead of other candidates.
England is a two-term Lemon Grove City Council member.
Weber, a professor of African American Studies at San Diego State University, said being embedded in the community as an active participant for 30 years is what has made her a force in the district.
“I live in the community, and that sets me apart,” she said. “It has a positive impact on who I am, and what I do.”
She believes her track record, and especially her history of service with the San Diego school board, have placed her ahead of other candidates with voters.
Four Democrats and two Republicans are vying for the seat in the newly redistricted 79th Assembly District. The two candidates with the most votes in the open primary election—regardless of party affiliation—will advance to a face off in the November election.
The 79th Assembly District includes Lemon Grove, La Mesa, part of Spring Valley, and areas of Chula Vista and San Diego.