Interview with Dan Downey, 77th District candidate


ENCINITAS — For state Meeting candidate Dan Downey, his run for workplace displays the dissatisfaction of many throughout the state who really feel just like the “California Dream” not exists for them and their households. 

Downey, a Republican, acknowledges that he was a late entry to the 77th Meeting District race, solely submitting paperwork to run with the state in March. Nevertheless, Downey says that he felt compelled to launch his candidacy after seeing that incumbent Assemblywoman Tasha Boerner Horvath (D-Encinitas) was working unopposed.

Boerner Horvath has held the district seat since her election in 2018. 

“Yeah, I used to be a late entrance into the race as a result of I noticed that Tasha was working unopposed, and I additionally really feel that California has been among the finest locations within the nation, however the California dream has been slipping away from my standpoint, and that’s why I received in,” Downey mentioned. 

Downey — a enterprise proprietor, entrepreneur and monetary advisor from Level Loma — acknowledges that he’s a political outsider however argues the district wants a “new method” to the workplace, one thing that he thinks he brings along with his distinctive background developed from his experiences within the enterprise and funding world.

“My profession has been in investments, recommending investments which can be going to carry out and being targeted on the underside line,” Downey mentioned. “That’s one thing that may very well be dropped at bear on the state by way of how the state is run and being results-oriented. Persons are on the lookout for options, and while you’re performing in opposition to a benchmark in finance, you are typically results-oriented, and I’ve at all times gotten ends in my profession.”

Noting that he’s working unopposed on the Republican main aspect, Downey additionally expressed optimism that there’s nonetheless loads of time to garner the required title recognition with voters wanted to make a powerful run on the common election. 

Republican candidate Dan Downey. Courtesy photo
Republican candidate Dan Downey. Courtesy photograph

“One of many advantages I’ve right here is that there are solely two of us working within the main, so usually a late begin can be a nasty thought, however on this case, I’ve time to get my title on the market, and the first is a chance to try this.

“As soon as the primaries are performed, some Republicans will transfer on to the overall election, and a few gained’t. Nonetheless, the donor neighborhood might be rather more targeted on those that have moved on to the overall election. General, I do have the luxurious of time right here as a result of this isn’t a contested main.” 

Downey additionally admits that he’s a heavy underdog within the race, given Boerner Horvath’s fundraising and title recognition benefits as a longtime incumbent. Nevertheless, Downey argued that nationwide developments of anti-incumbent sentiment would play in his favor heading into the overall election. 

“She is the favourite; she’s received more cash. She’s the incumbent; that being mentioned, we’re in a 12 months with a variety of dissatisfaction with the political panorama, not simply in San Diego politics however nationally; we’re in a 12 months the place individuals are options,” Downey mentioned. 

Downey additionally expressed that he feels strongly that Boerner Horvath shouldn’t be targeted sufficient on the precise coverage points that matter essentially the most to District 77 voters.

For instance, he pointed to a invoice Boerner Horvath authored in Sacramento that may have allowed bicyclists to deal with cease indicators as “yield” markers (they must decelerate however not solely cease earlier than a crossing if there was no oncoming site visitors). Governor Gavin Newsom finally vetoed the invoice, and the Los Angeles Instances referred to as Boerner Horvath’s measure “nutty” and misguided

“She’s simply targeted on the fallacious issues,” Downey mentioned. “When the LA Instances is asking you nutty — and that’s not a conservative publication — that’s not an excellent signal for you. My take is that she’s not targeted on the problems that matter to folks in a 12 months the place we’re experiencing $6 to $7 fuel costs and the very best inflation because the Nineteen Seventies, there are a variety of actual pocketbook points occurring right here, and with my expertise of seventeen years as a monetary advisor I’m uniquely positioned to come back into a job like this and supply context and higher coverage proposal than someone who is concentrated on bike lanes and working via cease indicators.” 

To beat his funding drawback and enhance title recognition, Downey mentioned that he’s working an aggressive grassroots marketing campaign, with a powerful emphasis on a social media presence, knocking on the voters’ doorways, and placing sources in direction of extra conventional mailers and promoting campaigns. 

“So far as to call recognition, we don’t have the luxurious of cash that Tasha has, so we’ve got to be artistic in that means,” Downey mentioned. “We’ve employed a guide to work on that, we’ve got a social media presence with a Fb web page up and working, we’re beginning a Twitter and an Instagram, we’re going all-in on elevating cash, and we’re doing the grassroots stuff too–knocking on doorways, and the extra conventional mailers and promoting.”

Downey additionally mentioned he firmly believes that regional redistricting in December has made District 77 extra aggressive for Republicans, mentioning that the district barely resembles the outdated 76th that Boerner Horvath beforehand presided over. 

The brand new 77th, which runs from Carlsbad south in direction of Imperial Seaside and takes in Pacific Seaside, Level Loma, Coronado, and swathes of downtown San Diego, is considerably extra coastal than the 76th was. In response to the thinktank Redistricting Insights, the district holds 41% registered Democratic voters versus 27% who’re registered Republicans. 

“Redistricting places me on an equal footing with Tasha; many of those folks have by no means seen her on the poll earlier than, so her title recognition gained’t be as sturdy as below the outdated district,” Downey mentioned. 

“My take is that San Diego and coastal San Diego, particularly, has a historical past of being conservative although it’s turn out to be extra liberal together with the remainder of California, in contrast with locations like Los Angeles and San Francisco, this district is fairly average, average to left-leaning might be the fitting approach to body it.”

The nationwide political local weather, which some consultants say favors Republicans for this midterm 12 months, may even play to his benefit within the common election, Downey mentioned, predicting a sizeable Republican turnout within the district in comparison with years prior. 

“I’d additionally point out that up till just lately, San Diego was within the high ten cities in America with a Republican mayor, and Darrell Issa represents a part of San Diego County, so there’s rather more competitiveness for Republicans, particularly in a 12 months like this the place there’s extra common dissatisfaction, there are going to be individuals who voted Republican up to now who it is likely to be simpler to promote to than it will be in a spot like Los Angeles or San Francisco.” 

Price of Residing and Inexpensive Housing

For Downey, a very powerful problem going into the overall election is discovering options to the state’s inordinately excessive value of dwelling, which he argued is ruining the California Dream. With California shedding a congressional seat after the 2020 census on account of the state’s declining inhabitants, Downey expressed that it’s clear that individuals are “voting with their ft” in selecting to maneuver to extra reasonably priced locations to stay. 

“There’s this concept that’s the California Dream that’s simply not attainable to lots of people anymore…you have got our children and grandkids who can’t afford to get on the housing ladder in California, mixed with the very best taxes of anywhere within the nation–I imply we ran a $60 billion surplus final 12 months, and that tells me that there’s a disconnect in California,” he mentioned. 

As a legislator, Downey pledged to by no means vote for any new tax will increase and to push for the repeal of the state’s controversial fuel tax. He additionally mentioned that he would go for different insurance policies to decrease the price of dwelling in areas of fundamental wants reminiscent of fuel, electrical energy, and groceries. 

“The fuel tax must be repealed, particularly contemplating how a lot fuel has shot up,” Downey mentioned. “Earnings taxes are one other one which makes the affordability of this state troublesome for lots of people; that’s one main factor that I’ve been targeted on.

“We discuss charges related to electrical payments that’s one thing that’s changing into extra of a spotlight, these are charges which can be imposed by the state, there’s a variety of levers that may be pulled despite the fact that it doesn’t occur in a single day, however there are issues can do from coverage perspective enhance the price of dwelling.” 

Downey mentioned that tackling questions on reasonably priced housing may even be important in reducing the price of dwelling for Californians. For him, options to reasonably priced housing contain much less regulation and a better emphasis on native management over housing and zoning ordinances.

Downey made it clear that he opposes Senate Payments 9 and 10 and argued that state and native governments have to do extra to carry rules that make it burdensome for builders to assemble reasonably priced models. 

Republican candidate Dan Downey is a business owner, entrepreneur and financial advisor from Point Loma. Courtesy photo
Republican candidate Dan Downey is a enterprise proprietor, entrepreneur and monetary advisor from Level Loma. Courtesy photograph

SB 9 required cities to permit extra residential models onto parcels zoned for single-dwelling models. SB 10 permits native companies to undertake an ordinance permitting as much as 10 dwelling models on any lot at a specified top if the parcel is inside a transit-rich space or city infill website. Each legal guidelines have been signed into regulation final 12 months however confronted heavy bipartisan criticism.

“In terms of affordability, there’s a variety of rules round constructing housing which can be onerous, and there are particular issues that may be performed to make the approval course of cheaper,” Downey mentioned. “We actually have to approve new tasks whereas preserving native management; that’s the steadiness that must be struck, essentially that implies that a variety of issues have to incorporate municipal governments together with state and county governments.”

Tackling extra vital macroeconomic issues reminiscent of inflation and the state’s excessive taxes is the very best place to begin for making livable housing reasonably priced for the typical Californian, Downey opined. 

“The dream of dwelling possession is changing into much less and fewer doable for many individuals; with rates of interest, it’s going to be more durable to afford a mortgage, and I believe that housing coverage is a key a part of that.  All that stuff takes time; even should you change insurance policies in a single day, it doesn’t essentially translate into extra reasonably priced housing tomorrow. Tax coverage has a a lot faster impression on the price of dwelling and the long run want for extra housing inside attain economically for folks.” 

Downey additionally talked concerning the significance of letting the free market operate because it was meant to as a substitute of bringing in what he characterised as an pointless governmental overreach into housing coverage. 

“I’m against issues like lease management and different related insurance policies that we’ve got pursued that appear well-intended, however lease management hasn’t helped the price of dwelling in San Francisco, as an illustration; it simply picks winners and losers,” Downey mentioned. “It removes models from the open market and drives up the fee for everybody else; we should always let the market determine slightly extra about how a lot housing we construct and reducing rules that have an effect on the price of housing. Totally different municipalities’ approval processes are time-consuming and costly for builders, so these are the issues that I’d be as a legislator.” 


Downey made it clear on homelessness that from his perspective, the core problem isn’t housing affordability however as a substitute has extra to do with psychological well being situations and substance abuse.

“Once we discuss homelessness, oftentimes we’re not essentially framing it appropriately; we have to discuss psychological sickness and drug dependancy,” Downey mentioned. “The type of homelessness that I see in San Diego, California, I see a variety of psychological sickness, open drug use, lots of people acknowledge that and that’s to not say everybody experiencing homelessness is in that class, however I believe that it’s an enormous large issue.” 

To make a severe impression on homelessness, Downey argued that state policymakers want to take a position extra closely in combatting the state’s rising opioid epidemic, which he mentioned shouldn’t be solely the state’s main explanation for dying however can also be chargeable for retaining many homeless folks trapped in an countless cycle of poverty and dependancy. 

“The main explanation for dying for these ages 18 to 54 on this state is from fentanyl overdoses,” Downey mentioned. “Medicine like fentanyl are considered one of many, but it surely has essentially the most dramatic impression on folks; it’s a number of occasions as sturdy as heroin, it’s very straightforward to overdose on, and it has a long-term impression on psychological well being, so yea we have to get extra severe as a state about our drug drawback.”

Downey mentioned he helps court-ordered diversion applications for these hooked on medicine, in addition to  Governor Gavin Newsom’s CARE Courtroom initiative launched in March, a brand new framework that may require counties to supply complete remedy to essentially the most severely impaired people whereas additionally holding sufferers accountable to remedy plans.

“It’s neither compassionate nor humane to be left on the streets hooked on medicine, the humane factor to do can be to ensure that they’re getting the remedy that they want, and it’s going to be a protracted course of, however we’ve got to start out someplace, and psychological sickness goes hand in hand with that,” Downey mentioned. “If we are able to get folks into the well being care system, we are able to permit folks to get the remedy they want as a substitute of throwing billions at options that don’t work.”

Downey additionally advocated for extra funding into shelters particularly targeted on serving to the homeless transition into long-term housing options. 

“California has pursued housing first, virtually a doctrine that that’s at all times considered as the answer to homelessness, however that clearly hasn’t labored,” Downey mentioned. “We’re attempting to pursue an answer that doesn’t work shortly sufficient, and we have to acknowledge that. We have to take extra of that cash and put it into shelters, they get a nasty rap, however they do assist folks transition from homelessness into long-term housing. We have to deal with shelters and drug dependancy remedy and psychological well being remedy.” 

Renewable Vitality Options

Downey believes that in a closely coastal District 77, voters are primarily targeted on problems with local weather change and different power sources to fossil fuels for this election cycle. Throughout the state, Downey mentioned that he sees voters additionally changing into more and more involved over extra frequent electrical energy blackouts as nicely. 

“I’m studying that we’re anticipating extra blackouts this summer season,” he mentioned. “When the state can’t assure steady electrical energy, one thing’s fallacious; it shouldn’t occur in a sophisticated nation just like the U.S., so we must be pursuing renewable power.”

As a legislator, Downey says he would advocate for elevated independence from fossil fuels, and particularly, for extra funding on the state stage into nuclear energy, which he believes is the way forward for sustainable renewable power options. 

Dan Downey admits he’s a heavy underdog in the race against Boerner Horvath but believes national trends of anti-incumbent sentiment will play in his favor. Courtesy photo
Republican Dan Downey admits he’s a heavy underdog within the race in opposition to Assemblywoman Tasha Boerner Horvath (D-Encinitas) however believes anti-incumbent sentiment might play in his favor. Courtesy photograph

“As an analyst, I spent a few years studying concerning the power sector, and we’re nonetheless extremely depending on fossil fuels,” Downey mentioned. “I imagine that nuclear energy performs a job for a couple of completely different causes. For one, it’s turn out to be a lot safer over the past technology, and there’s expertise that’s going to be rolled out that might be safer even than what we’ve got now. Secondly, it’s not intermittent, whereas photo voltaic and wind are intermittent relying on the climate situations; and third, it’s very cost-effective.”

Downey referenced international locations like France which have efficiently moved in direction of lowering their dependence on fossil fuels by investing in nuclear energy.

Whereas he’s not against exploring options reminiscent of wind and photo voltaic, Downey expressed his view that the expertise for such renewable sources isn’t the place it must be proper now by way of value and general effectivity to be a dependable power supply for Californians. 

“You’ve seen international locations like Germany, the place much like California, they went very a lot away from nuclear in direction of renewables, they usually’ve had issues that we’ve had with blackouts,” he mentioned. “France went nuclear hasn’t had these issues. It’s a matter of being slightly extra sensible about our choices; we are able to’t transition in a single day to 100% renewables.

“I imagine that that’s a worthy purpose, however there’s a transition interval the place we should always think about nuclear energy as a viable different. Traditionally, there’s been a variety of opposition to nuclear due to nuclear weapons, however we have to acknowledge nuclear power as a special animal. The storage of nuclear waste is fairly protected, it has many benefits in comparison with fossil fuels, and it’s very cost-effective, so it’s necessary to maintain it within the combine.” 

Public Security and Border Safety

As a state, Downey believes California has been too smooth on crime and negligent in securing its border with Mexico. He advocates taking extra complete measures to forestall unlawful crossings, reminiscent of ending areas of fencing and sending the Nationwide Guard to the border to take care of massive influxes of migrants. Downey mentioned that doing so would higher empower native regulation enforcement to take care of crimes associated to illegal border crossings, reminiscent of medicine and human trafficking. 

“Now we have a variety of fencing alongside the San Diego-Mexico border, however there’s a hole from round Tecate to Mesa, and I believe that most of the crossings coming into San Diego County occur there,” Downey mentioned. “In an excellent world as a state, I believe that there’s much more that we might do to manage unlawful border crossings, that’s the place a variety of medicine and human trafficking happens, and it’s not excessive on the listing of considerations for the time being, however it’s one thing to assume much more about.

“You could have folks crossing the border, medicine and human trafficking coming throughout the border, we’re not taking public security critically sufficient, and that’s what is registering on folks’s radar streams.” 

Downey made it clear he would additionally push for the repeal of Propositions 47 and 57, which he argued have exacerbated crime and stress on native regulation enforcement entities statewide. 

Prop 47 was a 2014 voter-approved referendum that reclassified some felonies as misdemeanors with lesser penalties, whereas Prop 57 (handed in 2016) allowed parole consideration for nonviolent felons and licensed new sentence credit for rehabilitation and good conduct.

“[Prop] 47, particularly, sends such a nasty message to criminals…by releasing a variety of inmates throughout COVID-19, you set all of it collectively, and it sends the message that California is smooth on crime,” Downey mentioned. “As somebody who studied economics, I can inform you that folks reply to incentives. You decrease the price of doing crime, and you’ll get extra crime, and that’s what we’re seeing.

“We have to acknowledge that a few of the issues we’ve performed have despatched the fallacious message by way of being smooth on crime. I don’t essentially imagine in punishing for the sake of punishing, however these legal guidelines are a deterrent to committing against the law, and we should always have legal guidelines applicable for the crime dedicated. As a legislator, I’d advocate for repealing these legal guidelines [Prop 47 and 57], more durable border safety, and treating our homelessness and dependancy drawback critically.” 


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