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Hough Beats Back $200,000 of Opponent’s Spending in Primary

In an example of grassroots messaging and “blocking and tackling” campaign basics holding fast against Downtown establishment money, Democrat Tommy Hough fought fellow San Diego District 6 candidate Kent Lee to a draw by the end of Election Day on Tuesday.

While the final vote tally won’t be certified for another month, Hough and Lee each remained deadlocked with 38 percent of the vote by Wednesday morning, with Jane Glasson pulling 23 percent. Hough and Lee will move on to the general election in November.

Hough campaign consultant Larry Remer estimates the money spent by Lee and his axis of donors and independent expenditures for mail and other primary spending was likely around $200,000. “It’s completely disproportionate for the results they got. They failed to secure a decisive win.”

“The Lee campaign seemed to think endorsements and mail would get them a win,” said Stephen Jones, a Mira Mesa-based media consultant. “But Tommy did the work, and wiped out several pairs of shoes.”

“This is a solid win for us,” said Hough. “We’ve said for months we’re the grassroots effort in this race. Our neighbors know it. They know I was out in front opposing the lane realignment on the west end of Gold Coast Drive. They know I opposed the south University City rezoning from the beginning. They know I was there in support of the Mira Mesa Epicentre and supporting rooftop solar and against the 20-year SDG&E franchise extension. Our neighbors know I will always stand with working San Diegans and ratepayers. That’s why they’re responding to our effort now.”

Lee’s campaign sent at least six targeted mail pieces to Republican and Democratic households, with corresponding flyers for Republican or Democratic doors. The San Diego Democratic Party sent at least three mail pieces in support of Lee, in part paid for by Lee and a contribution to the party from the developer-backed New San Diego PAC.

“On Tuesday Tommy demonstrated, as he also did in 2018, that he’s an empathetic guy who enjoys meeting neighbors and being around people,” said Remer. “He likes talking about issues, and likes making a case for how to make the city work better for his neighbors. He’s real, he’s approachable, he’s positive. That’s who he is. He walked nearly 12,000 homes over the last few months. You can’t put a price on that. No one can.”