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Political Heavyweights Join Race For San Diego Mayor

San Diego’s primary election is a full year away, but already there’s a large field of political heavyweights in the race for the city’s top job.

Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, R-San Diego, is the latest candidate to enter the race to succeed Jerry Sanders as mayor. He announced his candidacy Monday at NuVasive Inc., a medical technology firm, because he said the region's economy needs to be based on innovation.

"It's time to turn the page, time for a new vision, a new energy, time for a new generation of leaders not tied to the gridlock or problems of the past to step forward and lead,'' Fletcher said.

Republican Councilman Carl DeMaio kicked off his campaign on Sunday in Rancho Bernardo, marking the first official day of campaign fundraising.

Demaio told a crowd of supporters, "We have a comprehensive plan to fix San Diego's financial problems and make city government work again for the people -- and I'm running for mayor so we can implement that plan.''

District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, a Republican, announced her run in March. "Our city is obviously at a crucial moment in its history," Dumanis said. "I get it. People are fed up with unsustainable pensions, a lack of transparency and political infighting. Many San Diegans are still hurting as we struggle to rebound from the recession."

Sen. Christine Kehoe, D-San Diego, said she is forming an exploratory committee for a possible campaign. A final decision on whether to actually run will be made at a later date, she said.

Other potential Democratic candidates include Congressman Bob Filner and Port Commissioner Chairman Scott Peters.

Political science professor Carl Luna with San Diego Mesa College said the candidates have all summer and fall to fill their war chest in time for the primary.

"On the Republican side you’ve got Bonnie Dumanis, Carl DeMaio and Nathan Fletcher. Each have their own inventory base but they’re going to be poaching out of the same pool," said Luna. "If you only have Christine Kehoe as the sole Democrat, that will give her a fundraising advantage with the local labor unions and the local pro-democratic interest groups."

Luna said the mayoral campaign will likely focus on the city’s financial problems. The primary election is set for June 5, 2012.

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