ENCINITAS — A little over a year after prevailing in the race for District 3 Supervisor, former Encinitas Mayor Kristin Gaspar has thrown her name into the contested race for the open 49th Congressional District seat.
Gaspar, 38, formed a committee to run for the seat held by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Vista), according to Federal Election Commission Records. Issa announced earlier this month that he would retire from Congress after his term expires.
Gaspar’s spokeswoman Itica Milanes confirmed to a The Coast News reporter that Gaspar is running for the seat.
The announcement is the latest move in the rapid political rise of the Republican businesswoman from Encinitas.
Voters narrowly elected Gaspar to the Board of Supervisors in 2016 when she unseated incumbent Dave Roberts, a Democrat. After trailing the vote count on election night, Gaspar slowly gained on Roberts eventually surpassing him by just more than 1,200 votes.
Two years earlier, Encinitas voters elected Gaspar the city’s first elected mayor after one term on the City Council.
Gaspar, who was recently appointed chairwoman of the Board of Supervisors by her colleagues, was in Washington, D.C., last week, where she met for 10 minutes with House Speaker Paul Ryan.
She is the chief financial officer of Gaspar Doctors of Physical Therapy, the business founded and owned by her husband, Paul Gaspar.
Issa’s announcement that he would not seek re-election has opened the floodgates on the Republican side, as there are no fewer than five candidates campaigning for the June primary election for a place on the November midterm election ballot. In California, the two top vote-getters, regardless of political affiliation, advance to a November runoff if no one gets more than 50 percent of the vote.
State Assemblyman Rocky Chavez, State Board of Equalization Chairwoman Diane Harkey, San Juan Capistrano Councilman Brian Maryott and patent attorney Joshua Schoonover have all formed election committees.
Four Democrats have been actively campaigning for months for the seat, originally seeking a likely November battle against Issa: former Marine Col. Doug Applegate, Orange County environmental attorney Mike Levin, Rancho Santa Fe businessman Paul Kerr and San Diego former nonprofit director Sara Jacobs.
Applegate nearly defeated Issa in 2016, but the nine-term congressman prevailed by 1,300 votes — or 0.6 percent — in the tightest congressional race in the 2016 campaign. As a result, many Democratic strategists and pundits labeled Issa as one of the most vulnerable incumbents during the midterm election cycle.