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Money And Popularity In The Final Weeks Of The Race For San Diego Mayor
November 5, 2013 1:29 p.m.
Carl Luna, professor, political science, Mesa College
Joe Yerardi, is an investigative reporter for KPBS' media partner inewsource
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: This is KPBS Midday Edition, I am Maureen Cavanaugh. Our top story, only two weeks to go to the special election for San Diego Mayor. A new poll out Sunday seems to be good news for Kevin Faulconer. Nathan Fletcher came forward with a personal story about abuse in childhood. David Alvarez is still trying to increase his recognition. Joining me now are Carl Luna and Joe Yerardi. Welcome to the show. On the latest in news with any report has the top three candidates as Kevin Faulconer with 41% Nathan Fletcher with 28% and David Alvarez 17%. What do you see in this numbers?
CARL LUNA: They flipped with Fletcher support going to Faulconer. Fletcher is trying to grab moderate Republicans and independents but Faulconer has picked up that support. Alvarez is staying the upper teens. Mike is still on the back with five or 6%.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: What you think they need to do between now and election day?
CARL LUNA: Don't screw up. Don't create anything that short election that will create a spin that you can't control. I don't expect anything dramatic coming out of the candidates. On cruise control we get to run off to David is the Hail Mary pass of some sort. It's not getting the traction against Fletcher. And let the turnout turn really heavily.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: What about personal stories in this campaign. Just yesterday our partner broke the story that Nathan Fletcher revealed that he had a child hood with abuse. How do you think stories like that resonate with voters?
CARL LUNA: They are part of identity politics here, a narrative to show where this came from so I would be a better leader. When voters are voting for it down on list of what was suing them, but it has some impact. It may mobilize a few extra voters. Maybe a difference in the short race but not broad.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Who is getting the most donations and where are they coming from?
JOE YERARDI: It is important to remember first that the campaigns themselves are raising money. Have to abide by strict rules and cannot raise more than $1000 than any one individual per election. $1000 in primary and thousand in general. As a good amount of money but big money guys are bringing the independent political committees that support these candidates. When you factor those in and that money skyrockets. To give you an example, David Alvarez as has not raised much money, but with the help of a few independent communities, he has raised about $1.4 million between him and independent committees backing them. Behind him is Nathan Fletcher and his committee has raised about 1.3 million and Kevin Faulconer about $900,000. So far.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: How is this fundraising being used?
JOE YERARDI: There a couple great examples. Every campaign has of infrastructure in the election. The campaigns themselves try to see positive and boost the image of their own candidate with independent moderate voters. Then you have these independent committees off to the side and selling different roles. That rule is sometimes the attack dog eared they are meant to go out the opponents of the candidate they like. Great old Lincoln club. They are a conservative group and San Diego. They have been around for decades. They are the voice of the politically active business meeting San Diego. They have spent near him nearly $350,000 attacking Fletcher. They hope to boost Faulconer's chances. Another example is County parties, they have been spending money on member communications with their own membership to sort of beef up their preferred candidates. They are spending money to boost Faulconer in case of the Faulconer and David.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: This is a short campaign that we're having this time. How important is money in this race?
CARL LUNA: Money is important in the extent of getting people to show up to vote. Shaking the perceptions of the candidates. For all the money being spent, David Alvarez perceptions have not changed. Negative ads on Fletcher have been fairly successful because he has been hit by the Lincoln club and unions so he is either too much about conservative or a liberal Democrat but their flip-flopping. Some say he's too Republican and some say too Democrat. Marginalizing and the accompanying impact. Independent committees against Fletcher.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: A new deadline is coming up on Thursday. Expecting a push?
JOE YERARDI: Many of them are coming out in this race. A lot of the times these fundraising deadlines get up and candidates off the supporters to give. When these numbers are released publicly last time this came out we saw that in disabled the same.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: In past elections you've reviewed campaigns ability. Have you done this in this campaign? How civil have candidates been this time?
CARL LUNA: Our project that we've been doing analyzing several ads between the three and all of them have been fairly civil. That is because the candidates are using their resources to mobilize the vote and get a positive story message for the leadership and that is the beeping the voters are looking at. Meanwhile in the attack dogs of the campaign have been taking the low road and distancing yourself from that you can look like you have greater incentive it integrity as your benefiting from mudslinging. The zombie campaign that came out against Nathan Fletcher was indicative of how you can slam and a candidate and not have traced back to the doorstep.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: But the candidates themselves ñ I wonder how does that compare to last year's campaign?
CARL LUNA: Last year we had fairly polarizing figures with Bob Filner and Carl DeMaio. This year neither of them wants to be the next Bob Filner. Both Fletcher and Alvarez are trying to present themselves as strong leaders there platforms of the three candidates are understandable. It's all about jobs and neighborhoods and mostly not being Bob Filner.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: But of the messages what are they messages main aims to stick in voters minds were hearing over and over again? Whether positive or negative?
CARL LUNA: Faulconer's major messages that he has asked. In fiscal response ability and will look for neighborhoods of roses message is that he will look at neighborhoods in City Hall and Fletcher says I'm in the middle who can reach across the divides and turns off problems. This is difficult as neither of his up opponents are being purposeful. See what you been tracking early voting in the election other surprises there?
JOE YERARDI: Not so much work overall as of this morning the city registrars said they received 90,000 early ballots cast. That is about 24% of the voting rate. In terms of where these folks are coasting boats we're seeing the highest turnout in parts of Rancho Bernardo and point Loma in La Jolla. Other areas where you expect to see lots of Faulconer and Fletcher votes. Many precincts in those parts of town are registering 35% while of roses basis of support are rarely midteens at the moment. This is big. The San Diego reserve voters expects majority of all ballots cast to be just early.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: This falls in line with what you were saying about this show? The vote may come down to rather conservative voters who are Republican.
CARL LUNA: That is the case, it's going to be more conservative with Faulconer into the runoff. Will he be able to win it in the general election in the present. Depending on the turnout he has the best chance with 40% of poll and high rates of return on absence of dollars here better for David Alvarez because he is both the liberal Democrat but Fletcher is going better than he is with liberals and moderates. Basically it means Faulconer comes across the finish line with a walk in Fletcher trying to break away from Alvarez at the end that's what the race is. Fletcher has a slight advantage now over David Alvarez.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: What about people who say that they will vote for Aguirre, could that be a wildcard? When people go to the polls will they vote for Aguirre?
CARL LUNA: In the recall a few years ago we had green party often voters don't want to wate the vote on someone they don't think will win. But Mike's supporters across the board. Same of liberal and conservative and moderate. He kind of is neutral. According to that everyone picks up the next to one or 2% that is not a game changer. Great for David, a good chance to catch up to Fletcher.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Carl, you followed some of these programs. What impact do you think the short time has had on the race? To do it diminish the field of candidates.
CARL LUNA: Move ahead on their old agenda. Todd Gloria made the smartest decision by not running. Many a sudden impact the less where a candidate that you are on the opening day is the candidate you are of the end. You do not have a lot of time to reinvent yourself. With these early ballots it does not matter if you do a big push at the end. A lot of people already voted.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: One last question what do the candidates need to do to motivate their voters to either send in ballots or get out and cast ballots?
CARL LUNA: This is where retail politics. Alvarez has the advantage to spend money and Faulconer has the advantage with the Republican party and the big question is if Fletcher has a good enough organization to do the calls to hammer people here. After election will do this for action forensics to see how well they play that. Getting the mail in ballots early he's got a strong organization to do that, that he arty got his up in front. We may wake up and discovered that we have a new Mayor.