Skip to content

Ex-Mayor Enters Race Against Bilbray

The field of Democrats seeking to take on Rep. Brian Bilbray (R-Calif.) in his increasingly competitive district is growing.

Former Solana Beach Mayor Dave Roberts (D), a current councilman, announced Thursday that he will be a candidate.

“I’m running for Congress because we need a representative who is focused on the needs of all people here in San Diego County and is ready to fight for them every single day,— Roberts said in a statement. “As a local elected official, and throughout my career in the Air Force and the private sector, I have worked with Republicans and Democrats. I’m not a partisan politician; I’m a proven consensus builder, committed to bringing people together to find common sense solutions. In Washington, that’s exactly what I’ll do.—

Roberts is the third Democrat to enter the 50th district race, joining college lecturer Francine Busby, a three-time Democratic nominee, and Tracy Emblem, an attorney.

As an officeholder, Roberts brings credibility to the table, but he could be hurt in a Democratic primary by the fact that he only recently switched his party registration from Independent to Democratic.

Bilbray has never won more than 53 percent of the vote since first being elected in the San Diego-area district in a 2006 special election, and President Barack Obama won the district by 4 points last year. But it is not clear yet just how vulnerable Bilbray — who previously held another San Diego-area seat — will be.

Bilbray has never been a particularly aggressive fundraiser, but he appears to have picked up the pace this year, raising $331,000 between April 1 and June 30 and banking $389,000 at the time. Busby had $136,000 in cash on hand as of June 30, and Emblem had just $15,000.

Roberts has served on the Solana Beach City Council, including a term as mayor, since 2004.

Roberts, who is openly gay, works as a health policy official for an international nonprofit association and previously was an executive at a Fortune 500 company before founding and running a successful employee-owned business.

Recent Stories

Supreme Court sounds skeptical of cross-state air pollution rule

Another year, another disaster aid gap as funding deadline nears

Tall order for lawmakers to finish spending bills next week

Capitol Ink | It’s gotta be the shoes

Truck rule is first test drive of federal autonomous vehicle oversight

One plan to modernize Congress? A coworking space