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Filner’s Second-Spot Primary Win Comes At Bargain Price

Bob Filner definitely got the most bang for his buck in Tuesday’s primary.

The Democrat congressman spent about $9 per vote to make it into the general election for mayor of San Diego against Republican councilman Carl DeMaio.

Aired 6/8/12 on KPBS News.

Bob Filner definitely got the most bang for his buck in Tuesday’s primary. The Democrat congressman spent just $8.75 per vote to make it into the general election for mayor of San Diego against Republican councilman Carl DeMaio.

Bob Filner at Golden Hall on June 5, 2012.
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Above: Bob Filner at Golden Hall on June 5, 2012.

DeMaio, who came in first in the field of four candidates, spent about $35 per vote. Since he contributed more than $700,000 of his own money to his campaign, about half of that $35-per-vote came from his own wallet.

Investigative Newsource looked at the amount of money spent by each mayoral and city council candidate versus the amount of votes he or she received. The numbers aren’t exact; as of 5 p.m. Thursday, the county registrar of voters said about 105,000 absentee and provisional ballots were uncounted. Also, city candidates were required to report expenditures only up to May 31.

Yet, it’s clear in the mayor’s race that Filner got the best value for his money.

Nathan Fletcher, a California assemblyman who left the Republican party in a highly publicized move to independent status, came in third -- at a cost of about $30 per vote. District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, who came in fourth, spent about $29 per vote received.

As an indication of just how much money was spent, DeMaio got about 32% of the vote, Filner 30%, yet DeMaio spent about four times more per vote.

In the competitive council races, the candidates that spent the most got the most votes. In District 1, which covers La Jolla and Carmel Valley, Ray Ellis and Sherri Lightner, who will face off in the fall, spent about $35 and $20 per vote, respectively.

Scott Sherman in District 7, which runs along the north side of I-8, through San Carlos and Lake Murray, and then up the east side of I-15 through Tierrasanta, spent about $21 dollars per vote and won.

Marti Emerald, who is on the council but ran in the new District 9, which extends from Kensington and Talmadge to the north through City Heights down to Mountain View and Southcrest, spent about $15 per vote, and defeated Mateo Camarillo, who spent about $3 a vote.

The congressional race in the 52nd district also shows disproportionate spending.

The vote-counting is ongoing, but as of 5 p.m. Thursday, Democrat Scott Peters was leading fellow Democrat Lori Saldana for the second spot in the November election. The margin was about 800 votes. Peters lent his campaign $1.25 million last month.

Since federal campaign finance reporting deadlines are different from local deadlines, Investigative Newsource calculated cost per vote based on money raised rather than actually spent. Peters has raised about $73 per vote, but about $50 of that came from his personal contribution. Saldana has raised about $14 per vote.

Incumbent Republican Rep. Brian Bilbray won the top spot in the primary handily, with about 41% of the vote. He raised about $27 per vote.

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