In historic ‘firsts,’ Todd Gloria is set to be San Diego’s next mayor

Todd Gloria, 42, becomes San Diego’s first openly gay and first person of color to serve as mayor.

IN an election cycle with many historic firsts across the country, San Diego has its own barrier-breaking moment with the first openly gay and first person of color to lead the city.

Todd Gloria, who is Filipino, Latino and Native American, will serve as mayor of California’s second-largest city and the U.S.’ eighth-largest city after opponent Barbara Bry conceded in the race on Monday, November 9.

Gloria, the current assemblymember for the state’s 78th Assembly district, captured 56.13% of the vote (340,632) versus Bry’s 43.87% (266,231), according to the San Diego County Registrar of Voters’ update on Monday.

Gloria thanked Bry in a Twitter post and said it was time to “come together as San Diegans to resolve the many challenges we face.”


“Voters have embraced my vision of creating a City that works #ForAllofUs,” he wrote. “It’s now time to turn that vision into reality. I am honored to be the next Mayor of San Diego.”

The 42-year-old Democrat was first elected as a member of the San Diego City Council in 2008, and was interim mayor from August 2013 to March 2014 when outgoing Mayor Kevin Falconer took office.

When he was elected to the state Assembly in 2016, he was the second person of Filipino heritage ever elected to the California Legislature after Assemblymember Rob Bonta of Alameda. Gloria has served as assistant majority whip and, a year later, the majority whip, a position he recently held until this election.

San Diego, with a population of 1.4 million, is home to one of the largest concentrations of Filipinos in the United States, with more than 200,000 residing in America’s Finest City.

Councilmember Chris Cate, a second-generation Filipino American, represents San Diego’s Sixth Council District, where one in every three residents is of Asian American descent.

“I have known Todd a long, long time. He’s someone I can trust. I do not agree with him on a lot of things, which is okay,” Councilmember Cate previously told the Asian Journal. “I look forward to working with his new administration on bringing forth policy to help the residents of District 6 and all San Diegans.”

Gloria (center) is joined by his partner Adam Smith (left) and parents Phil and Linda Gloria on Tuesday, November 3 when they cast their ballots in person. | Photo courtesy of Todd Gloria’s campaign

At a recent online town hall meeting organized by Gloria’s friends in the Filipino American community to further drum up support for his mayoral bid, Gloria talked about his life and the way he was brought up by his parents.

He shared how his grandparents moved to San Diego and how his parents Phil and Linda taught him traditional family values. He said that he is the first in his working-class family to graduate from university.

“I will be a mayor for everyone,” he said. “I am mindful that there are little Filipino boys and girls who might see me in government as someone that looks like them, and maybe inspire them.”

Christina M. Oriel

Christina M. Oriel is an award-winning editor and communications strategist based in Los Angeles with experience in content, strategy and branding for media ecosystems, inclusive fintech startups, small businesses and direct-to-consumer products.

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