Julie Thunder is a polarizing figure in the community. Her former political ally and a past candidate for state and local office had this to say about her:
"Julie Thunder is NOT on your side. Encinitas deserves a mayor with integrity, moral clarity and leadership skills. Julie Thunder lacks these qualities."
These words come from Phil Graham, a pillar of the community who ran for State Assembly in 2018 and Encinitas City Council in 2016. He was initially listed as an endorser on Julie Thunder's campaign website. No longer. Why? Because of Julie's tacit support of an illegal and dirty robo-calling campaign smearing him in the 2018 election, masterminded by her political mentor and partner Mark Muir. Julie didn't support Phil Graham when principle was at stake... she turned on him for the sake of political expediency.
Even more concerning is that Julie Thunder is trying to hide her true colors from Encinitas.
She touts her "independence" as a major asset on her campaign website and Facebook page:
But in truth, she has a well established partisan affiliation that she's working really hard to conceal, which gives the impression that she has a hidden agenda as well.
Julie Thunder changed her voter registration from "Republican" to “No Party Preference” just over a month before launching her mayoral campaign. Obviously this is an attempt to deceive and deflect scrutiny.
She has a long history of endorsing and working tirelessly to elect Republican candidates to political offices at all levels.
She was endorsed by Vote Conservative San Diego and by the Trump-supporting, right-wing Executive Director of the San Diego Gun Owners PAC, Michael Schwartz, who said that the election in Encinitas was "one of the most important races in the county". He also called our current council "ridiculous":
Her campaign treasurer is Briana Baleskie, co-founder of a Trump-supporting "Build the Wall" PAC and also treasurer for Republican Supervisor Kristin Gaspar (who voted proudly for Trump in 2016).
Julie Thunder associates with far-right activists like Crista Curtis (who led aggressive protests in favor of re-opening too early and harassed the mayor by leading a mob to her house) and Kim Spada Morris (who fought against the Safe Parking Lot for 25 cars for unsheltered residents). Below is a Facebook post thanking Julie for attending a Republican event, with a picture showing her hanging out with her Republican friends:
Thunder is also co-publisher of a so-called "community news" website which is actually a partisan political platform. She's partnered up with scandal-ridden Republican Mark Muir to publish "The Encinitas Current". Mark Muir and his family are embroiled in FCC and FPPC investigations into an illegal and deceptive robo-calling campaign during the 2018 State Assembly election.
On the merits, Julie Thunder's campaign is one of grievance. She's against a great many things, including long overdue improvements to Leucadia, projects to help our most vulnerable residents, and the certified housing plan getting the city out of a legal quagmire.
She led a divisive fight to stop the Cardiff segment of the Coastal Rail Trail (a battle which she fortunately lost - the Cardiff Rail Trail is now an enormously popular community gem). It's not entirely clear what she is actually *for* other than to try to take Encinitas back to the 1980s.
True leadership isn't about pointing out what's wrong and saying "NO" to everything - it's about having the political courage to find the path forward, to make hard decisions, and to take a stand on principles. Julie Thunder has shown no sign of these traits.
Finally, it's worth noting that Julie Thunder has no experience in government. She's never even served on a commission. She has decided that any office short of mayor is apparently beneath her.
Don't vote for Julie Thunder. She's a divisive force in our community, earning a public rebuke from a former political ally based on issues of character and integrity. She's the candidate of "NO". And she's hiding her true colors, masquerading as an independent while it's crystal clear that she's been a hard-right Republican for years. Over 75% of Encinitas voters care about the partisan affiliation of their officials and candidates, even for technically non-partisan offices such as Mayor and Council member.
So... know your candidates for mayor: