1979 San Diego mayoral election

1979 San Diego mayoral election
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← 1975 September 18, 1979 (1979-09-18) 1983 (special) →
  Mayor Wilson.jpg
Nominee Pete Wilson Simon Casady
Party Republican Democratic
Popular vote 90,530 46,502
Percentage 61.6% 31.6%

Mayor before election

Pete Wilson

Elected Mayor

Pete Wilson

The 1979 San Diego mayoral election was held on September 18, 1979 to elect the mayor for San Diego. Incumbent Pete Wilson stood for reelection for a third term. As result of a voter approved amendment to the City Charter to align mayoral elections with state elections, the winner of the election stood to receive an extended five-year term.

Municipal elections in California are officially non-partisan, though some candidates do receive funding and support from various political parties.[1] The non-partisan primary was held September 18, 1979. Wilson received a majority of the votes in the primary and was reelected mayor with no need for a runoff election.


  • Pete Wilson, Mayor of San Diego[2]
  • Simon Casady, former newspaper publisher[2]
  • John Kelley, businessman and perennial candidate[3]
  • Charlotte Buchanan, homemaker[3]
  • Michael Gomez, high school counselor[3]
  • Jerry Lester, pharmacist and minister[3]
  • Raul Gonzalez[3]


On June 19, 1979, former newspaper publisher Simon Casady announced he would run for mayor of San Diego. Casady was considered the strongest challenger to Wilson's attempt at a third term. Although the position of mayor is officially non-partisan, Casady, a liberal Democrat and long-time activist, hoped to run a partisan campaign against Wilson.[2] Wilson officially announced his candidacy for re-election on June 20, 1979. Wilson emphasized his positive record in his previous two terms as mayor in his re-election campaign.[4]

On September 18, 1979, Wilson was re-elected easily with 61.6 percent of the vote. Casady came in second with 31.6 percent of the vote. The five remaining candidates garnered less than 7 percent vote combined. Because Wilson received a majority of the vote, he was reelected outright with no need for a runoff election.[5]

Primary election results[edit]

San Diego mayoral primary election, 1979[6]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Pete Wilson 90,530 61.6
Democratic Simon Casady 46,502 31.6
Nonpartisan John Kelley 3,158 2.1
Nonpartisan Charlotte Buchanan 2,398 1.6
Republican Michael Gomez 1,804 1.2
Nonpartisan Jerry Lester 1,677 1.1
Socialist Workers Raul Gonzalez 963 0.7
Total votes 147,032 100

General election[edit]

Because Wilson was elected mayor with a majority of the votes in the primary, no runoff election was held.


  1. ^ "How to Run for Office". The City of San Diego-Office of the City Clerk. Retrieved March 9, 2017.
  2. ^ a b c Kipp, Ray (June 20, 1979). "Casady Announces Campaign for Mayor". The San Diego Union. Retrieved March 14, 2017.
  3. ^ a b c d e Harrison, Donald H. (August 12, 1979). "'Forgotten Five' Espouse Varied Causes As Mayoral Candidates". The San Diego Union. Retrieved March 14, 2017.
  4. ^ Kipp, Ray (June 21, 1979). "Wilson Seeks Third Term As Mayor". The San Diego Union. Retrieved March 14, 2017.
  5. ^ Harrison, Donald H. (September 19, 1979). "Mayor Wilson Wins Third Term Easily". The San Diego Union. Retrieved March 14, 2017.
  6. ^ "Election History - Mayor of San Diego" (PDF). City of San Diego. Retrieved March 10, 2017.