The 1979 San Diego mayoral election was held on September 18, 1979 to elect the mayor for San Diego. Incumbent Pete Wilson stood for reelection for a third term. As result of a voter approved amendment to the City Charter to align mayoral elections with state elections, the winner of the election stood to receive an extended five-year term.
Municipal elections in California are officially non-partisan, though some candidates do receive funding and support from various political parties. The non-partisan primary was held September 18, 1979. Wilson received a majority of the votes in the primary and was reelected mayor with no need for a runoff election.
On June 19, 1979, former newspaper publisher Simon Casady announced he would run for mayor of San Diego. Casady was considered the strongest challenger to Wilson's attempt at a third term. Although the position of mayor is officially non-partisan, Casady, a liberal Democrat and long-time activist, hoped to run a partisan campaign against Wilson. Wilson officially announced his candidacy for re-election on June 20, 1979. Wilson emphasized his positive record in his previous two terms as mayor in his re-election campaign.
On September 18, 1979, Wilson was re-elected easily with 61.6 percent of the vote. Casady came in second with 31.6 percent of the vote. The five remaining candidates garnered less than 7 percent vote combined. Because Wilson received a majority of the vote, he was reelected outright with no need for a runoff election.