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San Diego Political Consultants Crossing Party Lines

— UT San Diego broke the news yesterday that long time Republican political consultant Tom Shepard has signed on to help Democrat Bob Filner win the upcoming mayoral race.

A prominent Republican consultant in San Diego has joined Democrat Bob Filner’s campaign for mayor. Meanwhile, Republican candidate Carl DeMaio has hired a Democrat. KPBS rlooks at what’s behind the cross party hiring.

Special Feature San Diego Mayor's Race

In an interview with the paper, Shepard said he believes his decision could cost him some Republican clients. But Mesa College political science professor Carl Luna said Shepard’s move is a shrewd one considering the rise in registered Democrats in San Diego.

"And in a city that has become bluer, at least purplish, positioning yourself toward the center, or a little bit to the left, is going to pick up some business on the back end down the pike," he said. "So it’s probably a very smart move for Mr. Shepard to do this."

Luna points out Shepard had already upset the local GOP by working for Republican-turned-independent candidate Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher.

But Shepard isn’t the only one crossing party lines. Republican candidate Carl DeMaio recently hired Democratic consultant Art Castanares to work on his campaign. Luna said it’s not unusual for consultants to switch back and forth between the parties.

"Sometimes you go where you think you can get a win," he said. "Winning is the ultimate credential for a political consultant."

Luna said it’s likely to be a nasty campaign. He says both candidates want to highlight each other’s negatives in an effort to keep moderates away from the polls and to energize the party faithful.

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