In the political arena, underdogs are candidates who don't get many endorsements, they raise little money compared to competitors and they don't have much name recognition.
People think underdogs are long-shots who won't likely win, but sometimes they pull out a surprise.
Lori Saldaña is a self-admitted political underdog who joins podcast co-hosts Ry Rivard and Sara Libby this week to talk about her underdog status in the mayoral race, and her surprise win in a past race for state Assembly.
Saldaña was a major underdog when she ran for Assembly. She said she won, in part, because the Democrats she was up against were too busy slinging mud at each other.
"People said it was a circular firing squad of Democrats in that primary and I ducked," she said.
Also on the podcast this week, Kevin Melton, a Republican candidate for the 78th District Assembly seat. Melton is running against City Councilman Todd Gloria — someone who's well known, has racked up endorsements and raised far more money — but Melton said he doesn't consider himself an underdog at all.
"I'm able to relate with all sides and all people," he said. "So those people who need to come over who are fiscally conservative, socially moderate – they will vote my way."
Melton said on the podcast that he has a slate of high-profile endorsements but that they'll stay secret for the time being. He also said that though he hasn't reported much money on campaign fundraising disclosures, that will soon change.
After the podcast taping, Melton emailed a new list of endorsements: "Supervisor Bill Horn, Assemblyman Brian Jones, Councilman Scott Sherman, Coronado Councilman Richard Baily, the entire Republican Party Central Committee 78th Assembly District, Republican Federation of Women Coronado, Point Loma, La Jolla, Del Mar, Solano Beach." But he also said he has the endorsements of four "major people in the city" that he still can't share.
VOSD's Lisa Halverstadt also makes an appearance on the podcast this week to shed some light on the race to fill Gloria's District 3 City Council seat.
Candidates Chris Ward and Anthony Bernal are similar in a lot of ways. They've both said no to public funding for a new stadium for the Chargers and yes to a dedicated funding stream to fix the estimated $300 million of infrastructure needs in Balboa Park.
The two have also invoked Gloria's image in their campaigns, even though neither candidate has gotten his official endorsement yet.
The Secret Ballot Voting in State Legislature Initiative is also a bit of an underdog to make the November ballot. The proposed measure wants legislators to be required to vote by secret ballot, thereby eliminating voting records and any method of understanding how our elected officials are doing their job.
• Rivard's favorite thing is the California Public Records Act. During the Saldaña interview, the candidate brought up her complaint that someone with political motivations has requested her personnel records. Rivard said he likes the fact that anyone can file a public records request, and it shouldn't matter what the motivations are behind each filing, because the public deserves access to public files. The public, after all, is paying for them.
• Libby's a USC alum, so her fave thing this week is the school's recent hire of Lynn Swann, a former professional football player, as athletic director.
You might've heard that California's presidential primary, for once, could actually matter this time around. But that doesn't necessarily mean you can just stroll into a poll this June and weigh in.
The latest San Diego Decides is all about voting — what needs to happen before you can vote in the primary, how voting is changing and some of the controversies surrounding how votes are counted.
Hosts Sara Libby and Ry Rivard speak with Rep. Susan Davis, who has for years been pushing a bill that would allow any eligible voter to vote by mail. Californians can vote by mail easily, but folks in many other states have to jump through onerous hurdles like producing a doctor's note or proving they'll be on vacation on Election Day.
“If you actually get sick on Election Day, you probably didn’t know you were going to get sick, which means you probably didn’t go to the doctor in order to get a permission slip so that you can vote by mail,” Davis said.
Also on the show: Vince Hall, executive director of the Future of California Elections, a group charged with modernizing the voting process in California.
Hall talks about some of the latest reforms to the voting process and why you still won't be able to vote online anytime soon.
"With paper ballots, you always have accountability, you have an audit system that allows you to essentially recreate the election, precinct by precinct, based on demonstrable physical evidence of what happened," Hall said. "But when you’re talking about digits in a computer, you don’t have that permanent record, that permanent accountability, with the way the internet currently functions.”
Hall closes with some sobering statistics about California voter participation: “In 2014, the voter participation rate in California was so bad, that the average voter was older than the average Californian’s parents. So it was really a grandparent electorate. And in our state, in that year, an 18 or 19 year-old was more likely to get arrested than to vote in a state-wide election.”
The latest proposal to go under the microscope is a measure that would eliminate charter schools — all of them.
Sara talks with a supporter of the measure about why she believes the plan is viable.
• Ry shares some lore from his home state of West Virgina, which has a history of alleged voter fraud.
• Sara's vibing The Return of the '90s: TLC, O.J., the Clintons and "Full House" are all back.