2016 San Diego City Attorney election

2016 San Diego City Attorney election
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Nominee Mara Elliott Robert Hickey
Party Democratic Republican
Popular vote 267,122 198,735
Percentage 57.3% 42.7%

City Attorney before election

Jan Goldsmith

Elected City Attorney

Mara Elliott

The 2016 San Diego City Attorney election occurred on Tuesday, November 8, 2016. The primary election was held on Tuesday, June 7, 2016.

Municipal elections in California are officially non-partisan, although most members do identify a party preference. A two-round system was used for the election, starting with a primary in June followed by a runoff in November between the top-two candidates.


The incumbent City Attorney Jan Goldsmith, was ineligible to run for reelection after eight years in the position due to term limits.[1] Four Democrats and one Republican contested the race.[2]

In the June primary, Republican Robert Hickey and Democrat Mara Elliott received the most votes and advanced to the November runoff election. Elliott's second-place victory in the June primary was considered an upset due to her opponents out raising and out spending her. Unlike her opponents, Elliott did not receive many of the typical endorsements from the various local democratic groups.[3]

In the November runoff, Elliott defeated Hickey by a margin of 57 to 42 and was elected City Attorney.


2016 San Diego City Attorney election[4]
Primary election
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Robert Hickey 81,513 28.98%
Democratic Mara W. Elliott 68,020 24.18%
Democratic Rafael Castellanos 54,319 19.31%
Democratic Gil Cabrera 47,072 16.73%
Democratic Bryan Pease 30,011 10.67%
Total votes 280,935 100%
General election
Democratic Mara W. Elliott 267,122 57.34%
Republican Robert Hickey 198,735 42.66%
Total votes 465,857 100%


  1. ^ Cook, Morgan. "Elliott wins in San Diego city attorney race". sandiegouniontribune.com. Retrieved 2017-12-24.
  2. ^ Board, The San Diego Union-Tribune Editorial. "Q&A with San Diego city attorney candidates". sandiegouniontribune.com.
  3. ^ "Overlooked by Insiders, Mara Elliott Emerges in City Attorney Race – Voice of San Diego". Voice of San Diego. 8 June 2016.
  4. ^ "June 7, 2016 Primary Election | City of San Diego Official Website". www.sandiego.gov.