KPBS - San Diego Neighborhoods Close In Distance, Miles Apart In Voter Turnout

 Campaigning Across Neighborhoods

Tom Shepard is a San Diego political consultant behind many high-profile campaigns for city and county offices. He said Teralta residents shouldn’t be quick to assume candidates for office will skip over their neighborhood to canvass high-turnout Kensington’s manicured streets.

“It is a realistic concern, but I think one mitigating factor in this election cycle is that we’re anticipating a relatively high turnout in the November election as a result of the presidential campaign,” Shepard said.

“And if history is any measure — 2008 and 2012 in particular — there will be a significant turnout of voters in City Heights for the November election,” he said. “So candidates that don’t have a strategy to connect with those voters in June might find themselves far behind the eight ball when it comes to attracting them come November.”

Voter Demographics KensingtonXema Jacobson, who ran Emerald’s successful City Council campaign in 2008, said the key to winning in such divergent communities as Kensington and Teralta is not to ignore the low-turnout area, just to approach it differently.

“With active voters, you can go in and identify them and follow up with phone calls and that’s it,” Jacobson said. “With people who don’t vote all the time, you spend a bit more time with them. It’s not just a phone call, but on Election Day you go knock on their door, ask, ‘Do you need a ride? Do you need childcare? Do you need something to get you to the polls?’”

Longtime Kensington resident Jodi Cleesattle said she understands those pressures her Teralta neighbors feel.

“The poorer you are, certainly the more pressing issues you may have on your mind, to where voting or learning about particular candidates is less of a priority,” she said.

Cleesattle, 47, said just because a wide spread in demographics exists between her neighborhood and Teralta, that doesn’t necessarily mean there’s a deep political divide between the two neighborhoods.

“We all want better schools, safe neighborhoods, streets without potholes, all those same kinds of concerns,” she said.

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Dan Sileo interviews Tom Shepard on the Mighty 1090AM