CHULA VISTA, Calif. — Chula Vista City Councilman John McCann will compete in the November runoff election in the race to become the city's mayor, likely squaring off against former congressional candidate Ammar Campa-Najjar.
McCann, a Republican running in the non-partisan race, led the field of six candidates in the race for mayor to advance to the runoff. Campa-Najjar, a Democrat, was in second place, although with ballots still being tallied Wednesday morning, held only a roughly 400-vote lead over fellow candidate Jill Galvez.
It was unclear how many votes still need to be tallied in the race.
The candidates are looking to succeed Mayor Mary Casillas Salas who will finish her second term this year, "terming out" and vacating the seat.
In addition to voting for a new mayor on June 7, 2022, people in Chula Vista are part of the newly configured 80th Assembly District,
There are six candidates vying for the mayoral seat. In alphabetical order by last name, they are: Ammar Campa-Najjar, Spencer Cash, Zaneta Encarnacion, Jill Galvez, John McCann, and Rudy Ramirez.
We gave each candidate five minutes to answer two questions, with the first having two parts:
- Chula Vista is a fantastic city with countless positives, but every city has something to be worked on. In your eyes, what's the biggest issue in Chula Vista and how would you address it, as Mayor?
- You've spent time and effort putting together a campaign, as you run for this seat. People in Chula Vista can do a quick online search and find out most things about you. What do you want voters to know that they won't find on your campaign website?
At the end of their answers, any time left on the clock was open for the candidate to use as they liked.
Scroll down and meet the candidates vying for your vote in Chula Vista's mayoral race.
Chula Vista native and businessman Ammar Campa-Najjar is vying for the mayoral seat, after two campaigns for federal office. In 2020, Campa-Najjar ran as the Democratic competition against Republican Darrel Issa. Issa ultimately won the race for California's 50th Congressional seat. In 2018, Campa-Najjar ran against then-incumbent Republican Duncan Hunter Jr. for the same seat; Hunter Jr. won that race. Campa-Najjar previously served as a deputy regional field director for President Barack Obama's 2012 presidential campaign, worked in the Obama White House, the Department of Labor, and the US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Campa-Najjar is a graduate of Southwestern College and San Diego State University.
U.S. Army Major Spencer Cash (Ret.) is running for Mayor, after retiring from the military in March 2021. He served for more than 20 years, mostly as medical evacuation helicopter pilot and medical operations officer. Cash's most recent active-duty assignment was staffing for the COVID-19 Operation Warp Speed initiative. Prior to that, he served in Tacoma, Washington, where he worked at Joint Base Lewis McCord. Cash is a graduate of San Diego State University and has lived in Chula Vista (outside of military assignments) since 2013.
Zaneta Encarnacion is currently Chief of Staff to Southwestern College's President and is part of the Executive Leadership Team at the school. She was born and raised in San Diego County and has lived in Chula Vista since 2004. This will be Encarnacion's first time running for public office. Previously, she's held positions as the Chula Vista Mayor & Council Constituent Services Manager, as the President of the Chula Vista Rotary Club, at the County Office of Education, and at the Growth Management Oversight Commission-- as well as other boards and organizations. Encarnacion is currently a doctoral candidate at the University of Southern California.
Jill Galvez is currently one of Chula Vista's Councilmembers, representing District 2 since 2018. Galvez has also served as Deputy Mayor, in 2020, and has lived in Chula Vista for 30 years. Along with her council duties, Galvez has served on the MTS Board of Directors and the Security Committee, as a commissioner on the Metropolitan Wastewater Joint Powers Authority, and as co-chair of the U.S. International Boundary and Water Commission's Citizen Forum. Prior to politics and public service, Galvez worked in the private, tech sector as a manager and VP for companies like AT&T. Galvez is a graduate of Michigan State University.
John McCann is currently one of Chula Vista's City Councilmembers, representing District 1. This is his fourth term, also serving as Deputy Mayor, having worked under three mayors. McCann has also been on several local boards and committees, including the City of Chula Vista Planning Commission, Economic Strategy Committee, Housing Advisory Commission, and Beautification Committee. McCann is currently a Lieutenant Commander in the U.S. Navy Reserve and has served on active duty in Iraq. McCann grew up in Chula Vista, graduating from San Diego State University.
Businessman and former Chula Vista Councilmember Rudy Ramirez is a life-long Chula Vista resident, attending Castle Park Elementary, Middle, and High Schools. Ramirez served on the council from 2006-2015. Before that seat, he served on the Board of Ethics, the General Plan Update Steering Committee, and the Bayfront Citizen's Advisory Committee, among other boards. Ramirez has also owned a metal fabrication business for nearly 30 years.