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How to Run for Mayor in San Diego, California

2 min read
San Diego
Good Party Politics Team · Nov 2, 2023

Embarking on a journey to become Mayor is a significant move towards creating a positive impact in your city. But what does it entail to campaign for office? This guide will delve into the critical aspects and prerequisites for campaigning for Mayor in San Diego, California, along with advice for initiating an impactful local campaign.

Understanding the Role of Mayor

Before you commit to campaigning for any political position, it's crucial to comprehend the duties associated with that role. Here are some quick insights about the role of Mayor:

  • What responsibilities does a Mayor have? The Mayor acts as the principal executive of the city, often presiding over council meetings, and may have the authority to appoint or dismiss department heads.

  • Is the San Diego City Mayor a local, state, or national role? The Mayor is a city-level elected official.

  • Is the Mayor's role influenced by political party affiliation? The Mayor's position is a nonpartisan elected role.

  • Is being Mayor a full-time or part-time endeavor? Holding the Mayor's office is considered a part-time job.

  • What is the usual income for a Mayor? The standard income for the Mayor in San Diego, California, is $100,464 annually.

This foundational knowledge can help in determining if you're prepared to launch a campaign. Further insights into the role of Mayor can be gained by studying the actions of current and former officeholders. What have been their primary concerns? How have they allocated their time while in office? What contributions or changes have they brought about in your community? Pondering such questions will help you picture yourself in their position and imagine what your political journey could look like.


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Qualifications to Run for San Diego City Mayor

Before you set your heart on running for Mayor in the upcoming election, it's vital to ensure you meet the criteria for candidacy. Most elected roles in the United States have certain requirements, and the position of Mayor is no exception. Here are the main qualifications for running for Mayor in San Diego, California:

  • You must be a registered voter in the district you wish to represent for at least 30 days before you file your nomination papers.

  • You must reside and be a registered voter in that district when you take office.

After confirming that you satisfy these qualifications, you'll also want to ensure you can fulfill all the filing requirements. Many elected roles necessitate candidates to gather a specific number of signatures from registered voters in their area. Here are the filing requirements to be aware of when you run for Mayor:

  • The filing fee is $500. 

  • The petition signature requirement is 200 (or 2200 to qualify without a filing fee).

The address for the filing office is 5600 Overland Ave, San Diego, CA 92123. The phone number for the filing office is 858-505-7260. Submit paperwork to the county registrar of voters' office.

How the San Diego City Mayor Is Elected

As you contemplate running for office, conduct thorough research to understand precisely when and how the Mayor is elected. We'll provide you with some fundamental information to get you started:

  • When is the next election for Mayor? The Mayor’s office will be up for election during the regular municipal elections on November 5, 2024.

  • How frequently is the Mayor elected? The Mayor is typically elected every four years.

  • What other offices are up for election during the regular municipal elections? Another elected position up for election during the regular municipal elections is the San Diego city attorney.

For more detailed information on how the Mayor is elected, check your local government's website.

Steps to Run for Mayor in San Diego

Once you've made the decision to run for Mayor, confirmed that you meet all the requirements, and understand when and how the position is elected, how do you actually start a campaign for Mayor? Creating a successful campaign can be a complex process. Fortunately, Good Party’s AI Campaign Manager is here to make the process smoother.

Here are eight steps to guide you towards developing an effective campaign, plus tips on how Good Party’s AI Campaign Manager can assist you in achieving them:

#1: Understand Your Community’s Needs and Context 

Before you craft a detailed campaign strategy, it's important to grasp the history and current situation of the people you aim to represent. Taking time to research and listen to your community will provide you with an edge both during the campaign season and once you assume office.

Here are several questions to consider as you learn about San Diego:

  • What are the demographics of your community? Look into aspects such as age, race, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, religious beliefs, and educational levels. It's also useful to know the variety of languages spoken in your community.

  • What is San Diego’s voting history? How have voters cast their ballots in the past? Examine the percentage of registered voters, voter participation rates, and trends that may favor one political direction over another.

  • What are the pressing issues in your community? What matters most to the people of San Diego? How have previous officials addressed — or neglected — these challenges?

#2: Create a Detailed Campaign Plan 

After getting to know your voters, it's time to draft a comprehensive campaign strategy. This involves organizing and forming a campaign team and outlining your primary voter outreach methods. The AI Campaign Manager offers tips for assembling a campaign team that fits your needs and strategies for beginning your voter outreach.

#3: Complete All Filing Requirements 

Filing requirements are a crucial part of establishing your campaign. They may seem less thrilling than other campaign aspects, but they are essential. Filing requirements encompass two main categories: gathering signatures from registered voters and completing all necessary paperwork to start fundraising and manage your campaign's finances.

Good Party’s AI Campaign Manager can guide you through the crucial steps of campaign finance setup, including:

  • Applying for an employer identification number (EIN) with the IRS

  • Setting up a campaign bank account

  • Establishing a payment processor account for online donations

  • Adding a donation button to your campaign website

  • Investigating and submitting all required paperwork to the appropriate campaign regulatory body

  • Keeping track of campaign filing and finance deadlines

#4: Develop Effective Campaign Messaging 

Crafting compelling campaign messages is another essential step to complete early in your campaign. Clear and consistent messaging helps voters understand who you are, your reasons for running, and your goals once in office. It also aids in boosting your recognition among the electorate.

Good Party’s AI Campaign Manager is ideal for creating powerful campaign messages. Our collection of campaign tools enables candidates to employ artificial intelligence to draft foundational messaging statements like policy platforms, as well as materials for every phase of your campaign. Here are just a few of the campaign materials you can create with Good Party’s AI tools:

  • News announcements

  • Social media posts

  • Campaign correspondences, including fundraising letters and community event invites

  • Scripts for opening speeches, campaign videos, and door-to-door canvassing efforts

These templates simplify the process of generating initial drafts of campaign materials, which you can then personalize and perfect to suit your campaign's voice.

#5: Build a Strong Online Presence

In today's digital age, one of the primary ways voters in San Diego will learn about candidates for the upcoming municipal elections is through online searches. They'll be looking for campaign websites, social media profiles, and coverage from reliable news outlets. To ensure your campaign is visible:

  • Develop a user-friendly campaign website.

  • Keep your social media feeds updated with regular posts.

  • Issue press releases to draw media attention and public interest.

Good Party’s AI Campaign Manager offers resources to help with each of these tasks, from outlining your campaign website to generating press releases to spread the word about your campaign kickoff.

#6: Engage in Voter Outreach

Connecting with voters is a fundamental aspect of any campaign. Effective voter outreach ensures that the electorate is aware of who you are, what you stand for, and why they should choose you over your opponents. Strategies like door-to-door canvassing, phone banking, text banking, and hosting community events are all effective. The AI Campaign Manager allows you to seamlessly monitor your voter outreach activities over time, so you're always informed about your progress towards your campaign objectives.

#7: Mobilize Volunteers in Support of Your Campaign

Even with a dedicated campaign team, running an effective campaign single-handedly is a daunting task. This is where volunteers become invaluable. Candidates endorsed by Good Party gain access to our expansive network of volunteers nationwide, who can bolster your campaign through various awareness-raising activities.

#8: Get Out the Vote

Voter turnout is a decisive factor in local elections. It's crucial to motivate as many supporters as possible to cast their ballots in the municipal elections, including those who may be voting for the first time or who might not be registered to vote. Candidates utilizing Good Party’s campaign tools receive expert guidance throughout the get-out-the-vote (GOTV) process.

Reasons to Run for San Diego City Mayor

Why consider running for Mayor? Here are compelling reasons to embark on this journey:

  • Running for Mayor allows you to be the voice of your community, addressing their needs and ensuring their representation in local governance.

  • It empowers you to champion critical local issues, from enhancing infrastructure to promoting public safety in San Diego.

  • Your candidacy adds diversity to the electoral choices, which is particularly significant when challenging incumbents.

  • Regardless of the election outcome, campaigning is a remarkable opportunity for personal development, networking, and community engagement, laying the groundwork for future political aspirations.

Ultimately, campaigning for Mayor is a profound way to contribute to your community and support a thriving democracy.

Resources to Help You Run for Mayor

Are you ready to run for Mayor? Good Party stands ready to support you through every stage of your campaign, from the initial decision to the final tally on election day. We back independent, third-party, and nonpartisan candidates nationwide. Reach out today to discover how Good Party’s complimentary tools and assistance can propel your campaign for Mayor.

To become part of Good Party's growing community and connect with other independent candidates, you can also join Good Party's Discord server.

Photo by Leo on Unsplash


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How to Run for Office
San Diego
By Good Party Politics Team
The politics team is focused on transforming the political landscape by promoting transparency, accountability, and positive change. They aim to engage citizens in the political process, encourage informed decision-making, and support candidates who prioritize the common good. Their mission revolves around creating a more fair and just political system, fostering collaboration, and breaking down traditional barriers of partisanship.