One of the biggest issues during the campaign was municipal ownership of the water system. Capps, the city engineer, was seen as friendly to the San Diego Flume Company, while Reed was supported by the Southern California Mountain Water Company.
On April 4, 1899, Capps was elected mayor with a majority of 52.3 percent of the vote. Reed came in second with 45.6 percent of the vote. Helphingstine came in third with only 2.1 percent.