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Former Councilman, Mayoral Candidate Carl DeMaio To Run For Congress

Above: Carl DeMaio, who ran an unsuccessful bid for mayor, during a campaign event in November 2012.

Aired 5/30/13 on KPBS News.

Former San Diego City Councilman and mayoral candidate Carl DeMaio today formally announced his candidacy for the 2014 race for the 52nd Congressional District.

— Former San Diego City Councilman and mayoral candidate Carl DeMaio today formally announced his candidacy for the 2014 race for the 52nd Congressional District.

The Orange County native hopes to unseat freshman Congressman Scott Peters, D-San Diego, also a former San Diego City Councilman.

DeMaio told KPBS he'd been considering the run over the last several months after talking to his supporters.

"These are people who believe in our reform agenda," he said. "San Diegans who saw how it works here in San Diego. To save the city from bankruptcy, it took bold ideas and took a coalition of people from across the political spectrum, and they think they need that in Washington and I agree.

"Congress is broken. There’s partisanship and infighting and divisiveness and we don’t see bold solutions. People aren’t looking at how to solve problems, in some ways they like to keep the problems going so they have something to run on and labels to throw around."

DeMaio said if elected, he'd focus on balancing the budget and improving the economy.

"We have got to get the federal budget under control," he said. "People talk about it, but few reforms are actually introduced to solve the problem."

DeMaio said he would fix the federal budget by "looking at every single program on its individual basis to look at ways to reduce waste and improve performance."

"So every federal program will be on the table, just like I took every program and put it on the table in my Roadmap to Recovery," he said.

“Just like I tackled the San Diego budget, just like when people thought we couldn’t balance it without a massive tax increase or service cuts, we produced a plan that actually did that, and we got a lot of those reforms done,” he said.

DeMaio said one of the main pieces of legislation he will campaign on is called "Fix Congress First."

It proposes to "require Congress to live under the same laws that the rest of us do" and apply open government reforms to the Congress, DeMaio said. He said Congress should not be exempt from the Freedom of Information Act, must fulfill public records act requests and should post legislation online 72 hours before voting.

DeMaio added that Congress also must follow insider trading rules.

"We need to be looking at putting Congress on the same level as the rest of us who work hard and pay taxes," he said. "There shouldn’t be special status given to members of Congress."

DeMaio, 38, emailed a statement at 10 a.m. Thursday to more than 12,000 supporters and announced his decision via postings on social media websites.

San Diego CityBeat reported on Monday that DeMaio was updating his website to include issues with more national focus.

In confirming his long-rumored plans to run for Congress, DeMaio, who is openly gay, called for his party to focus on economic issues.

"I see myself as a 'new generation Republican' who wants to challenge the party to focus on pocket-book, economic and quality of life issues in a more positive and inclusive way, rather than issues that are frankly none of the government's business in the first place,'' he said.

DeMaio served one four-year term on the City Council, beginning in 2008, before running unsuccessfully against Democrat Bob Filner in San Diego's mayoral race last year.

His Congressional opponent Peters, 54, served two four-year terms on the council from 2000 to 2008.

Upon terming out, Peters served on the Port of San Diego Board of Commissioners.

In a tight race that wasn't decided until about a week after voters went to the polls, Peters edged out Republican Brian Bilbray, R-Solana Beach, for the 52nd Congressional District seat last fall.

The district, which represents mostly coastal and coastal-inland North County, has traditionally always gone to a conservative. But redistricting divided the voting block last year in thirds between Democrats, Republicans and independents, paving the way for a closer race.

A KPBS/inewsource analysis last year found that in the 52nd District, nearly two-thirds of the precincts that favored Peters also favored DeMaio for mayor.

Overlap Between San Diego Mayoral Election and the 52nd Congressional

DeMaio & Bilbray DeMaio & Peters Filner & Peters Filner & Bilbray

Above: Sources: SanGIS, San Diego County Registrar of Voters

Comments

Avatar for user 'dlwintermia'

dlwintermia | May 30, 2013 at 8:20 a.m. ― 1 year, 4 months ago

When people don't win a run for public office, why don't they just retire from politics and go get a job? Unfortunately, it seems that some individuals have a need to feed at the public's teat, rather than just work for a living. I think Carl is another one of those who will use the public's money rather than make his own. I find him boring, more than two-faced and very much in need of some rest and relaxation at his own expense, rather than ours.

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Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | May 30, 2013 at 9:05 a.m. ― 1 year, 4 months ago

What? You think when people get elected it is like they are on a vacation? That is insane. First of all most elected officials don't make a lot of money, especially for California's cost of living. Secondly, I am pretty sure almost everyone who holds a political office is extremely busy most of the time. It's not a vacation by any stretch.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | May 30, 2013 at 3:32 p.m. ― 1 year, 4 months ago

CDM is already rich. If I was him, I would just enjoy my wealth with my family and get over the politics.

But certain personality types are not happy with wealth alone. They need power to go along with it, and they need a platform from which they can be the focus of attention in order to be happy. Mr. DeMaio is a politician at heart, he will never be happy unless he is involved in politics.

By the way, didn't DeMaio criticize Mt. Filner for being in Congress during the Mayorlal election?

If anything, this decision should assure San Diegans we made the right move in not electing this man out mayor. He doesn't care about us or our city, he is just out to power grab and run for any powerful office he thinks he can get. He's an opportunist and nothing more.

I'm sure the editorial board at the UT is already meeting to decide how they can assist Carl in his unrelenting power quest for the top!!

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Avatar for user 'CaliforniaDefender'

CaliforniaDefender | May 30, 2013 at 4 p.m. ― 1 year, 4 months ago

Oh Duck,

Couldn't you say the EXACT same about Filner?

Filner was angry he would never be president (or even chair of a significant committee) so he figured he could make San Diego his own little fiefdom.

And that he has done. Look there is Lord Filner now! He's shutting down the San Diego Tourism Authority unless they kneel and kiss his ring.

Who needs tourists? Not San Diego for we have our turnip fields! Back to work serfs...

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Avatar for user 'DonWood'

DonWood | May 30, 2013 at 5:20 p.m. ― 1 year, 4 months ago

DeMaio moved to San Diego from Washington where he had been a favorite of right wing powerbrokers like Carl Rove and Grover Norquist. He knows that they can be counted on to raise millions of dollars from big conservative GOP bigwigs in an effort to bring him home to DC. He also knows he can promise to introduce any number of bills which will never get passed, but that San Diego voters will support them anyway. Since he's not in office, he can promise anything, whereas Scott Peters, who now represents the district in the House, has to be a bit more realistic when he speaks.

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Avatar for user 'CaliforniaDefender'

CaliforniaDefender | May 30, 2013 at 7:34 p.m. ― 1 year, 4 months ago

DonWood,

Filner, an Ivy League millionaire, moved to San Diego from Pittsburgh to spread east coast liberalism to San Diego. What's your point?

Scott Peters? Another east coast Ivy League millionaire, 8th richest in Congress with a net worth over $200,000,000. Yep, count those zeros...two hundred million.

At least DeMaio was raised in Orange County, came from a very poor family, and had to pull himself up by his own bootstraps. Regardless of what you think of his politics, you have to respect that.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | May 31, 2013 at 12:13 a.m. ― 1 year, 4 months ago

CADefender, while none of us can know what Mr. Filner and Mr. DeMaio really think in their own minds, the facts don't suggest their motives are the same.

Mayor Filner was a long-time Congressman, something I would argue is more prestigious and powerful than being Mayor of San Diego.

Mr. DeMaio was a city councilman, something clearly below the level of San Diego mayor.

Mr. Filner did not need to run for mayor for any sort of power-grab. If anything, it can be considered a step down for him. It's more plausible to think he actually cares about the community and decided to run.

My argument about DeMaio is that he seems to just want to climb the political ladder, regardless of the opportunity he just wants to grab it. I don't think comparing a former city councilman trying to claw his way up the political ladder is equivalent to a long-time Congressman who decided to come back to his home and become mayor.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | May 31, 2013 at 12:16 a.m. ― 1 year, 4 months ago

If DeMaio truly cared about San Diego and truly wanted to be mayor of this city like he claimed during the campaign. wouldn't he re-group and run again for San Diego Mayor instead of grasping at any opportunity he thinks he can get?

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Avatar for user 'RegularChristian'

RegularChristian | May 31, 2013 at 7:50 a.m. ― 1 year, 4 months ago

I wonder about people who say they hate government but spend most of their time trying to be it.

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Avatar for user 'Mmikey'

Mmikey | May 31, 2013 at 7:53 a.m. ― 1 year, 4 months ago

Politicians run for office to satisfy their egos,

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Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | May 31, 2013 at 10:11 a.m. ― 1 year, 4 months ago

Yep every single politician on earth runs for office to satisfy their egos. You know for sure because you are a mind reader.

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Avatar for user 'RegularChristian'

RegularChristian | May 31, 2013 at 10:47 a.m. ― 1 year, 4 months ago

I actually know a few who are true public servants. It's a difficult job but one which has to be done. Cynicism can be a healthy point of view, but not as the default attitude towards politicians, especially at the local level. Someone has to do the job. we should look for those who are motivated by the right things.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | May 31, 2013 at 11:14 a.m. ― 1 year, 4 months ago

RegularChristian:
"I wonder about people who say they hate government but spend most of their time trying to be it".

You hit the nail on the head there!

It seems like everyday I hear a POLITICIAN on the news saying government is the problem.

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Avatar for user 'DeLaRick'

DeLaRick | May 31, 2013 at 11:14 a.m. ― 1 year, 4 months ago

Politicians should be drafted and forced into office. The act of running for public office is flawed, even if it's the best system available. Hopefully, no one is forgetting that the current system stinks.

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Avatar for user 'RegularChristian'

RegularChristian | May 31, 2013 at 11:30 a.m. ― 1 year, 4 months ago

Thanks Peking. I like your posts, too.

De la, a lottery the way ancient Greece and Israel sometimes operated might just be the best way to ensure honesty. But since that's not going to happen anytime soon, maybe we can get the money out of politics. Money is why good people turn bad.. I think Duke Cunningham is a good example of that. He's getting out soon. I hope he's rehabilitated.

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Avatar for user 'CaliforniaDefender'

CaliforniaDefender | May 31, 2013 at 12:13 p.m. ― 1 year, 4 months ago

Those who seek a seat in Washington do so to feed their ego and bank account.

So why would Filner leave a cushy unchallenged 20-year seat? Lack of power.

Combative congressmen like Filner who isolate themselves are left powerless. He never held a position of leadership, was never chair of a significant committee, nor authored any meaningful legislation in 20 YEARS.

San Diego was an easy target where he would have the power to do as he pleased. He was virtually unknown in San Diego as a Congressman, now everybody knows his name with the media following him like paparazzi...and he loves it.

But I agree that DeMaio should concentrate his efforts in dislodging Filner and leave Congress to the corrupt egotists.

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Avatar for user 'Mmikey'

Mmikey | June 1, 2013 at 7:14 a.m. ― 1 year, 4 months ago

too bad they don't have to take an oath similar to the hippocratic oath, with emphasis on the " do no harm" section.

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Avatar for user 'RegularChristian'

RegularChristian | June 1, 2013 at 8:24 a.m. ― 1 year, 4 months ago

Too many people here can't see the good our elected representatives actually do? With all our human foibles, Where do these people think progress comes from?

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Avatar for user 'Mmikey'

Mmikey | June 1, 2013 at 9:34 a.m. ― 1 year, 4 months ago

De Gaulle " In order to become the master, the politician poses as the servant"

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Avatar for user 'DeLaRick'

DeLaRick | June 2, 2013 at 10:45 a.m. ― 1 year, 4 months ago

RC,

I'm put off by the alarming ease with which weapons and authoritarian legislation passes through Congress as well as the alarming difficulties encountered by social and infrastructure legislation. Good legislative fights are to be expected, but the last 20 years have been a joke.Whoever said politics is show business for unattractive people hit the mark.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | June 2, 2013 at 2:10 p.m. ― 1 year, 4 months ago

"I'm put off by the alarming ease with which weapons and authoritarian legislation passes through Congress as well as the alarming difficulties encountered by social and infrastructure legislation"

I agree 100%.

And the abuse of the filibuster is insane, congress has completely side-swiped the original intent of this and are using something meant for rare and extreme cases as a standard political ploy used on hundreds of pieces of legislation.

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Avatar for user 'CaliforniaDefender'

CaliforniaDefender | June 3, 2013 at 12:09 p.m. ― 1 year, 4 months ago

I agree as well. It doesn't matter if there is a Democrat or Republican in the White House or which side controls Congress. They both chip away at our liberties and neglect our social and infrastructure needs.

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