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Filner Edges DeMaio In San Diego Mayor’s Race

Aired 11/7/12 on KPBS News.

Rep. Bob Filner, D-San Diego, outlasted Councilman Carl DeMaio to claim the San Diego mayor's office, according to unofficial results released early today.

Rep. Bob Filner, D-San Diego, outlasted Councilman Carl DeMaio to claim the San Diego mayor's office, according to unofficial results released early today.

With all precincts reporting, Filner had 51.5 percent of the vote, compared to 48.5 for DeMaio, with about 10,000 votes separating the two candidates out of more than 320,000 cast.

Spark Photography

Supporters of San Diego mayoral candidate Rep. Bob Filner (D) at Golden Hall on November 6, 2012.

Spark Photography

San Diego mayoral candidate Carl DeMaio speaks to his supporters at the US Grant on November 6, 2012.

KPBS reporters tweeting on Election Day.

Filner appeared shortly before midnight to thank supporters and express confidence that he thinks "we're going to win yet."

He cited the Democratic victory nationally with President Obama defeating Mitt Romney and the City Council remaining in Democratic hands with Sherri Lightner's win over GOP challenger Ray Ellis.

DeMaio thanked his supporters and reiterated his goals for the city.

"The ballots are still being counted, we don't know the final outcome," DeMaio said. "But I know how hard everyone in this room, and the thousands listening at home, have worked to move this great city forward."

DeMaio said his campaign was about eliminating labels based on party affiliation, race, union support and sexual orientation.

"When we strip away the labels, we find one label remains, one label that is strong," he said. "And that is that we are all San Diegans."

If elected, he pledged to govern without labels.

The race between the Democrat Filner and the Republican DeMaio has been tight since the June primary, when two other candidates were eliminated. Republican District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis endorsed DeMaio the week before the election. The Republican-turned Independent state Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher did not make an endorsement.

The polarized candidates sit at opposite ends of many issues, including the Convention Center expansion, replacing city employees' pensions with 401(k)-style retirement plans, and the Plaza de Panama project for Balboa Park. They both believe a new Chargers stadium should be built without public financing and support desalination to increase the city's water supply.

DeMaio and Filner have been embroiled in a tense and sometimes nasty race since June, with accusations and attack ads flying. DeMaio attacked Filner for missing votes in Congress, assaulting a baggage handler at an airport and for his plan to use city bonds to pay off pension debt.

Filner attacked DeMaio for what he said were connections to "downtown insiders" including U-T San Diego owner Doug Manchester. Filner also called DeMaio's partner Johnathan Hale a criminal and suggested he was connected to the group that organized a water gun fight that destroyed the lily pond in Balboa Park.

Both the conservative DeMaio and the liberal Filner have attempted to vie for moderate voters since the June primary. DeMaio has scored endorsements from current Mayor Jerry Sanders, Democratic philanthropist Irwin Jacobs and many local business groups. Filner was endorsed by California Gov. Jerry Brown, former City Councilwoman Donna Frye and groups like the San Diego police officers and the San Diego firefighters.

DeMaio is an Orange County native. The 38-year-old moved to San Diego from the Washington, D.C. area in 2001. In 2008, he sold his companies, which provided management training to government, non-profit and private-sector employers. He made millions from the sale. DeMaio said he wanted to focus on fixing San Diego’s financial problems. DeMaio maintains he has no political ambitions beyond becoming the city’s mayor.

Filner, 70, has served on the San Diego Unified School Board and on the San Diego City Council. He was first elected to Congress in 1992 and ever since has held the seat representing South San Diego and Imperial County. He’s served as chair of the House Veterans Affairs Committee and is now the ranking member.

But Filner said Congress has become too dysfunctional and he saw an opportunity to be San Diego's first Democratic mayor in nearly 30 years.

Sanders has held the mayor's office for eight years and could not run again because of term limits.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | November 7, 2012 at 7:46 a.m. ― 4 years, 4 months ago

Poor DeManchester.

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Avatar for user 'franciscocroquer'

franciscocroquer | November 7, 2012 at 8:14 a.m. ― 4 years, 4 months ago

My biggest disappointment from this election is that now we are not going to know the price: What did DeMaio promise Jerry Sanders for his endorsement?

We kind of know what Manchester was going to get (zeros up or down in millions doens´t really mean anything for a normal person), we know the bridge that Mr. Jacobs was getting while he was voting with one hand covering his nose. But what was Jerry Sanders getting out of this? A statue… Sander´s Stadium…. or his name in a building own by Manchester and lease with the money of all of us taxpayers?

We probably won´t know. I am disappointed but relieved.

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Avatar for user 'lagunagrl'

lagunagrl | November 7, 2012 at 9:58 a.m. ― 4 years, 4 months ago

I'll be relieved once DeMaio concedes. I am sooo ready for a new way of doing business in San Diego--one not run by developers or the devil himself: Manchester. And think of all that money the Koch brothers wasted on this election (and Romney's). I'm ready for a legitimate 3rd party so we will be forced to build coalitions and not just have a two-party system. Maybe by 2020?

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Avatar for user 'stevefromsacto'

stevefromsacto | November 7, 2012 at 10:02 a.m. ― 4 years, 4 months ago

Next question: Will DeMaio "sinko" away?

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Avatar for user 'laplayaheritage'

laplayaheritage | November 7, 2012 at 10:15 a.m. ― 4 years, 4 months ago

With just the approval of Governor Jerry Brown, State Controller Chiang, Department of Finance, and State Attorney General Kamala Harris; the full annual $200 million can be moved from downtown to our Neighborhoods.

Plus Civic San Diego, the former CCDC Redevelopment Agency (RDA) is hording $100 of million in Reserve accounts for projects never approved, let alone discussed.

The poor and Homeless will now get justice.

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Avatar for user 'tkterry'

tkterry | November 7, 2012 at 10:54 a.m. ― 4 years, 4 months ago

DeManchester is a perfect moniker for DeMaio - Too bad the shift to the left didn't continue substantially to congress - Obama continues his tough fight - Americans who think that giving a democratic president a republican congress is checks and balances are sorely misguided.

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Avatar for user 'WorldView'

WorldView | November 7, 2012 at 11:01 a.m. ― 4 years, 4 months ago

Actually, the reality is we have a country divided in half, and now a city divided in half, with misguided voters who selected people on the basis of names and labels, and not the issues. Strap in for a bumpy, expensive ride over the next four years!

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | November 7, 2012 at 11:20 a.m. ― 4 years, 4 months ago

Good one , duckster.

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | November 7, 2012 at 11:22 a.m. ― 4 years, 4 months ago

CDM was not only Manjester's man, but he was also Bonnie D's . . . um, man.

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Avatar for user 'Tammy Carpowich'

Tammy Carpowich, KPBS Staff | November 7, 2012 at 11:37 a.m. ― 4 years, 4 months ago

lagunagrl~ If you haven't already seen this, DeMaio did concede this morning:

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Avatar for user 'domke'

domke | November 7, 2012 at 11:54 a.m. ― 4 years, 4 months ago

The glass is half full, worldview. Despite the naysaying for the last four years, the people are speaking to the fact that the economy is getting better for the greater good. Did you live through the Depression or something? This ain't the worst of it at all! Go talk to your grandmother. She might tell you to pound the sand.

As for the expense - it's been a long time coming, my friend. Take a look back at the Reagonomics of this and start counting the losses to payrolls of the average American. The rich have been coasting for too long in this country. Goddamit.

We all share the cost now. Go to Disneyland or some offhsore island if you want fun. This is reality. My issue is fairness.

And take your stadium proposals with you. We now have a badly needed, beautiful Library going up downtown that will absolutely serve the reading public of San Diego.

Change is coming to San Diego - for the better. I'll still listen to you - but holy more of the whining please.

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Avatar for user 'radiofree'

radiofree | November 7, 2012 at 2:50 p.m. ― 4 years, 4 months ago

It was so nice to wake up and find the Manchesterian candidate was rejected. I am glad the voters are tired of seeing developers have their way with our city.

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Avatar for user 'banshee'

banshee | November 7, 2012 at 4:34 p.m. ― 4 years, 4 months ago

I'm glad I didn't have to vote in this particular election - neither choice was tolerable for me. Not opposites at all, just two sides of the same bad coin.

I often wondered - why did Filner want to go from being a Representative, to a Mayor? That a rather big pay decrease, wouldn't you say?

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | November 8, 2012 at 10:24 a.m. ― 4 years, 4 months ago

Sinko away--that's a good one.

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Avatar for user 'Really123'

Really123 | November 8, 2012 at 12:54 p.m. ― 4 years, 4 months ago

How long before Bob and Donna force rent control on us?

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Avatar for user 'HarryStreet'

HarryStreet | November 10, 2012 at 12:15 p.m. ― 4 years, 4 months ago

Looks like the cops get to keep their outrageous pension benefits. I was hoping De Maio became mayor to remove that ridiculous perk. Now we'll all have to pay the price for these greedy people who don't seem to care how much the pension benefits drain our pockets.

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