Campaign Trick Backfired on Gloria & DeMaio, Maybe Schiff Too

By Alberto Garcia
Investigative Reporter

Three high-profile political campaigns spent money to promote their opponents of another Party in hopes of drawing a weaker challenger in the November runoffs but it didn’t work for two of them and the jury is still out on the third.

The campaigns of Adam Schiff, Carl DeMaio, and supporters of Todd Gloria all spent money promoting candidates they perceived as the weakest in the November general election, but for DeMaio and Gloria’s camps the tactic did not pay off in the March 5th election.


Republican DeMaio, the former San Diego City Councilman who is running for the California State Assembly’s 75th District, spent money to promote Democrat Kevin Juza in hopes of helping him make the runoff and keeping the Republican Party’s endorsed candidate, Andrew Hayes, out of the General Election in the heavily Republican district. 

Kevin Juza

DeMaio’s efforts seemed to have paid off when Juza ended up in second place behind DeMaio on Election Day, but Hayes gained votes during each of the Registrar of Voters’ updates since last Tuesday.

Over the weekend, Hayes overtook Juza and now leads him by 556 votes with only a few thousands ballots left to count in the district.

It appears fairly certain that DeMaio will face off against Hayes in what will pit the Republican Party and several GOP elected officials supporting Hayes against DeMaio who maintains one of the highest profiles with his afternoon radio show and Chairmanship of Reform California, a conservative group that fights tax increases and other hot button issues.


In the race for San Diego Mayor, a group of Todd Gloria supporters used the same tactic in their support of obscure Republican candidate Jane Glasson who claimed her main experience to be Mayor was that she served as Treasurer of her homeowners’ association. 

Although the Republican Party refused to endorse Glasson, a group named New San Diego headed by attorney Gil Cabrera sent campaign mailers promoting Glasson as the "only Republican for Mayor."

Cabrera, a Democrat appointed by Gloria to serve on the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority, hoped their support would push Glasson past Independent Larry Turner and Democrat Genevieve Jones-Wright to give Gloria a near-certain victory in November.

Glasson mailer

Glasson could not muster more than 7.2% of the vote and ended the race in fourth place with Turner claiming the runoff spot against the sitting Mayor.

For all their work, Gloria only garnered 50.05% of the vote for himself despite his huge campaign war chest and nearly ubiquitous name recognition among voters, leaving many political observers to suspect he is weak heading into a tough re-election campaign.

Turner, a former US Marine Lt. Colonel and current San Diego Police Officer, is a lifelong Independent and was probably the most formidable challenger Gloria faced. Turner enjoyed broad support among Republicans and Independent voters.


Adam Schiff’s campaign for US Senate to fill the seat previously held by Dianne Feinstein spent millions of dollars promoting Republican Steve Garvey, a former Padres and Dodgers baseball player looking to score a win for the GOP in a seat they haven’t held since Pete Wilson left in 1998. 

Schiff, a well-known Congressman from Los Angeles with a national profile as a staunch critic of Donald Trump, also faced two other high-profile Democratic Congressmembers; Katie Porter and Barbara Lee, in the campaign to replace Feinstein who had served since 1992.

When Feinstein died one year before the end of her term, California Governor Gavin Newsom appointed campaign operative Laphonza Butler to serve the remainder of the term but she quickly announced she would not seek election to a full term, leaving the door open for the batch of candidates already in the race.

Schiff's campaign sent mailers to Republicans using somewhat of reverse psychology; reminding Republicans that Garvey is a conservative who "voted for Donald Trump for President...twice!"

Steve Garvey mailer

Last week, Garvey made the runoff in a heavily Democratic state where Republicans have not won any statewide office since Arnold Schwarzenegger won his second term as governor in 2008. 

In drawing Garvey as a head-to-head challenger, Schiff may think he will now coast to an easier victory than had he faced off against one of the two Democratic women running in the Primary.

But some political experts now fear that Schiff may have created a monster for himself and other Democrats.

Garvey may be a political neophyte but he could excite Republicans who believe that can finally win a statewide office and help maintain control of the US Senate.


That excitement among Republicans is what now concerns some Democrats.

Although Garvey’s chances of beating Schiff are still not very high, Democrats fear Republicans may turn out to vote in higher numbers than they otherwise would have without a competitive race at the top of the ticket, given that the Presidential race in the state is virtually 100% certain to go for Biden.

But more importantly, the higher Republican turnout statewide could endanger other Democrats running in highly competitive congressional districts that could determine which Party controls the House next year.

Ten competitive seats are in California, including Katie Porter’s district which is up for grabs after she opted to run in the US Senate race instead of for re-election.

Republicans have committed millions of dollars to the contested seats in hopes of maintaining and picking up a few districts to help them expand their majority in the House.

Democrats now fear that Garvey will be the most high profile Republican campaigning throughout the state since many do not expect Donald Trump will do more than come to California to fundraise but not bother to spend too much time in a state that he lost by 30 points to Hillary Clinton in 2016 and by 29% to Joe Biden in 2020. 

Schiff v Garvey