San Diego elects its first openly gay and POC Mayor: Todd Gloria

Todd Gloria - new Mayor of San Diego
Todd Gloria (Photo: Todd Gloria/Facebook)

Todd Gloria appears to have won his battle to become mayor of San Diego. In doing so, the California Democratic assemblyman becomes the city’s first openly gay mayor and its first POC mayor. San Diego is the second biggest city in California and the eighth biggest in the US.

Gloria replaces a termed-out GOP mayor, Kevin Faulconer. This week’s election was a runoff against another Democrat, Barbara Bry, 71.

On Wednesday, Gloria emailed supporters to say: “There are still votes to be counted, and that is likely to take weeks. But you pushed us to a commanding lead last night that would be very difficult to overtake.”


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Late Thursday night, the San Diego Union-Tribune said Gloria had slowly increased his lead as counting continued, and was now almost 64,000 votes ahead of Bry, taking around 56% of the vote to Bry’s 44%.

Related: Mondaire Jones and Ritchie Torres become first Black, openly-gay Congressmen

Gloria tweeted to say he was honored to join the ranks of other LGBTQ mayors: “Proud to soon join leaders like Chicago’s @LoriLightfoot, Seattle’s @MayorJenny, Tampa’s @JaneCastor, and Long Beach’s @RobertGarcia. We stand on the shoulders of trailblazers like Houston’s @AnniseParker and South Bend’s @PeteButtigieg.”

Gloria briefly served in the position of interim mayor for San Diego before. He took the role in late 2013 through early 2014 due to the resignation of former mayor Bob Filner following sexual harassment accusations. Gloria stepped down when Faulconer took office.

Gloria, 42, will be the second-highest-ranking LGBTQ mayor currently serving in the US and the third-highest ranking openly LGBTQ mayor in US history. Chicago’s Lori Lightfoot is the highest-ranking mayor in US history based on the number of residents she represents.

Gloria’s Twitter bio describes him as a: “Third Generation San Diegan. Proud son of a maid and a gardener. CA’s 1st Native American-Filipino-Latino-LGBT Assemblyman.”

Gloria succeeded despite right-wing media and activists subjecting him to a barrage of homophobic criticism in the final weeks of his campaign, including threats of violence on social media.

This included attacking Gloria’s support for Senate Bill 145, which amends the law in California to ensure queer teens are treated the same way in the criminal justice system as their straight counterparts.

Despite the spread of misinformation, SB145 passed the California State Assembly 41-18 and the State Senate 32-10. The bill was sponsored by another gay politician, San Francisco’s Scott Weiner, who was also successfully re-elected this week.

Related: CA Sen. Scott Wiener is getting right-wing death threats over new LGBTQ equality bill 

Gloria was one of the many LGBTQ candidates standing for election on Tuesday who received support from the LGBTQ Victory Fund. It’s President, former Houston mayor Annise Parker, said in a statement, “It is an uphill battle for LGBTQ people of color to be in a position to run for high-level office, much less win, so Todd’s victory is a pivotal moment for San Diego and the country.”


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