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Faulconer Defeats Alvarez For Mayor; Vows To Unite San Diego

Election 2014 Results

Aired 2/12/14 on KPBS News.

New San Diego Mayor-elect Kevin Faulconer, who defeated fellow Councilman David Alvarez by a wide margin on Tuesday, vows to be an independent leader for all San Diegans.

Aired 2/12/14 on KPBS News.

New San Diego Mayor-Elect Kevin Faulconer, who defeated David Alvarez, by a wide margin on Tuesday vows to be an independent leader for all San Diegans.

Special Feature Special Election

San Diego Mayor-elect Kevin Faulconer, a Republican, defeated fellow Councilman David Alvarez by a wide margin on Tuesday. He vows to be an independent leader for all San Diegans.

Democrat Alvarez, 33, conceded the race via Twitter shortly before midnight. Faulconer said the two men had an amiable conversation and that he looks forward to working with his former opponent, who returns now to City Council.

San Diego Mesa College political science professor Carl Luna said Alvarez's inexperience contributed to his loss.

"I think...what you’ve got is something of a perfect storm for Democrats: the triple 'w,' " he said. "They had a weak candidate, a weak message and a weak turnout."

Luna said having two top Democratic contenders — Alvarez and ex-Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher — in the primary election gave Faulconer a boost heading into the runoff.

"It definitely left the Republicans consolidated behind Kevin Faulconer, and he was able to parlay that into success by getting a good turnout particularly in the mail-in ballots: about 70 percent of his vote came in by mail," Luna said.

Faulconer, 47, officially will become mayor on March 3. The final vote tally: Faulconer 53 percent; Alvarez 47 percent.

Beaming at the podium before a roomful of boisterous supporters, the Republican acknowledged the sexual harassment scandal that drove Bob Filner from office:

"We know that this city has gone through a lot in the past year, but we knew that as San Diegans we were better than that," Faulconer said at the US Grant Hotel downtown.

Democrat Alvarez thanked his supporters, in English and Spanish, and while he stopped short of actually conceding at the podium, his sentiment was as clear as the results coming in all evening from the Registrar of Voters.

Faulconer will be dealing with a City Council controlled by Democrats, and currently headed by interim Mayor Todd Gloria. A Democrat, Gloria will resume his significant role as council president, setting the legislative body's agenda.

In fact, if a Democrat is appointed to replace him on the council — as is likely — Mayor Faulconer will face a veto-proof 6-3 Democrat majority, at least until the election this November. That's because it's likely Gloria and his fellow Democrats will name a fellow party member as Faulconer's temporary replacement, although that person cannot run for the seat in the fall.

But for now, it was enough for Faulconer, the veteran politician, to savor victory and embrace his supporters.

"So our message tonight to every single San Diego neighborhood: We will invest where we need the help, we'll get our city back on track on the services that San Diegans expect and that they deserve," Faulconer said after sincerely thanking his campaign workers.

Alvarez stepped to the podium in a Barrio Logan market shortly after 10 p.m. to thank his supporters. It wasn't a concession speech, but it resembled one.

"You believe as I do that San Diego is an inclusive city, a city that stands for working families," he told cheering supporters. "We are on the verge of accomplishing great things.

"While we do not know the final outcome tonight, this much is clear: We have changed San Diego. And we are just getting started."

Alvarez added that the important thing is for San Diegans to, "move forward together as a city, not as Democrats and Republicans; old versus young, not (as those) north of I-8 versus (those) south of I-8, nor as workers versus business interests .... But as San Diegans."

Alvarez ended his speech with gratitude expressed in Spanish. He threw in the towel officially some 90 minutes later with a tweet to his many followers.

Tuesday's runoff election was scheduled on relatively short notice after November’s special primary vote narrowed the field to the top two finishers.

The race to replace Filner, who resigned over sexual harassment claims in August, generated national attention in its final weeks with a story in The New York Times and a late-game endorsement of Alvarez by President Barack Obama.

In a full-circle development, it was announced Monday that Irene McCormack-Jackson — the top Filner aide whose revelations of sexual harassment energized the campaign to oust him — settled her lawsuit against the former mayor and the city. McCormack-Jackson will get $250,000, according to her attorney and the San Diego City Attorney’s Office.

Meanwhile, the two men vying to replace Filner replaced their relatively genial relationship during the primary with sharp-elbowed confrontation in the past few weeks.

The election turned ugly as both campaigns and the independent committees supporting Faulconer and Alvarez went on the offensive, sending out negative mailers and running attack ads on TV.

Each candidate has described the other as a tool of the interests behind him. Faulconer has said unions are trying to buy the election by backing Alvarez, while Alvarez has painted Faulconer as anointed by the city's business insiders.

Both candidates and the independent committees supporting them have raised millions during the special election, but Alvarez has raised slightly more. Some of his biggest backers were the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the United Food and Commercial Workers Union and the United Domestic Workers of America.

Some of Faulconer's biggest backers were the National Association of REALTORS Fund, The Lincoln Club of San Diego County and The San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce.

CORRECTION: The original version of this story incorrectly stated the margin of victory for Mayor Kevin Faulconer over Councilman David Alvarez. The story has been corrected.

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Avatar for user 'progressivebuthey'

progressivebuthey | February 12, 2014 at 7:39 a.m. ― 3 years, 1 month ago

Thanking his supporters in Spanish and English said it all --- he ran an inexperienced campaign appealing to his Latino/South San Diego base when he should have been appealing to all of San Diego.

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Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | February 12, 2014 at 9:58 a.m. ― 3 years, 1 month ago


Of course a militant communist is not going to win an election.

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Avatar for user 'DumbingDownofAmerica'

DumbingDownofAmerica | February 12, 2014 at 12:18 p.m. ― 3 years, 1 month ago

Did Alvarez even have the decency/courtesy/class to CALL Kevin personally and offer him his congratulations? Noooooooo....he uses the coward's method....a TWITTER....Alvarez doesn't have the cajones to do the normal, time honored tradition of making a call to his opponent.
Unions tried to buy the election and meddle in our affairs here in San Diego. San Diegan's have finally realized that the future of San Diego is/was at stake. It was not about was about saving San Diego.
Even former City Attorney, Mike Aguirre, a die hard democrat and also a Latino (in case you didn't notice) said clearly and adamantly that with Alvarez as mayor we would become "DETROIT BY THE SEA", replacing the name of 'ENRON BY THE SEA' that was given to San Diego during a prior financial mess (do you recall?).
Aguirre said that Alvarez would be in the back pocket of unions at their beck and call, and that Alvarez, who voted against pension reform, would do nothing to fix the pension problem, which will eventually bankrupt the City. (You do know about the retired city librarian getting $240,000 per year from the City as her reward for all those tough years as an librarian. And, of course, you do know about the 100's of City retirees getting over $100,000 PER YEAR IN PENSION BENEFITS....DON'T YOU? DO YOU GET THIS WHEN YOU RETIRE? HMMMM?)
Sooooo...Alvarez got over $5 million dollars for his campaign....over $4 million of that from unions and outside meddlers, and only $1 million from SAN DIEGANS.
It appears to me that Alvarez is not going to be a gracious loser and work for SAN DIEGO'S BEST INTERESTS. HE WILL BE AN OBSTRUCTIONIST. SORRY, DAVID, YOU WILL LOSE OVER AND OVER AGAIN.

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Avatar for user 'Claire Trageser'

Claire Trageser, KPBS Staff | February 12, 2014 at 1:46 p.m. ― 3 years, 1 month ago

DumbingDownofAmerica, Alvarez tweeted that he called Faulconer to concede and then offered his congratulations on Twitter. You can see his first tweet here:

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Avatar for user 'mySDvoice'

mySDvoice | February 12, 2014 at 1:47 p.m. ― 3 years, 1 month ago

This election was lost by the elites in the Democratic Party. Instead of getting behind Nathan Fletcher, they chose to bring in David Alvarez as a second Democratic candidate, whom they later endorsed and backed with huge sums of union money. With David Alvarez they got a candidate that shared a more liberal subset of the Democratic Party values. But not a candidate that could appeal to the broader San Diego population, and undoubtedly digging into the election results will show that David did not get many votes from independents and those north of 8. By choosing David Alvarez, the Democratic Party elite gave Faulconer all the Republican voters and a large percentage of Independent voters. No way that David could get elected. If you are registered with the Democratic Party and are unhappy with the results of this election, you need to let the Democratic Party Central Committee hear from you (

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Avatar for user 'DonWood'

DonWood | February 12, 2014 at 2:02 p.m. ― 3 years, 1 month ago

David Alvarez is not the first freshman council member to run for mayor and lose.
First term council member Linda Bernhart tried and lost in the mayoral race won by Susan Golding. Guess SD voters want seasoned politicians in the mayor's seat.

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Avatar for user 'boomerop14'

boomerop14 | February 12, 2014 at 2:03 p.m. ― 3 years, 1 month ago

Lots of right wing chest puffing and cockiness today, trashing David Alvarez in any way they can. A good man lost yesterday. Kevin Faulconer won using the race and class card. Pitting one set of neighborhoods against another, and now of course says he will bring all of San Diego together, and unite us all, blah, blah, blah. And lets call it like it really is, many San Diegans did not want to see a latino elected as mayor. Someone from THAT other side of town. Lets have some honesty here. The rest of us were not born yesterday. The one good thing about this election is that acting mayor Todd Gloria and the present council (majority democrat), will pick Faulconer's replacement and if its another democrat that will provide a veto proof majority, to reverse any of Faulconer's vetos. There is some poetic justice in all this after all.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | February 12, 2014 at 2:53 p.m. ― 3 years, 1 month ago

This came down to one thing and one thing only - turnout.

Look at the map where you can click on each precinct - the north of 8 conservative precincts mostly had turnouts around 50%, and the blue precincts had turnouts around 30%.

The majority of San Diegans favor Alvarez, they just didn't show up at the polls.

The Democratic Party needs to work on turnout efforts seriously.

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Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | February 12, 2014 at 2:57 p.m. ― 3 years, 1 month ago

boomerop14 - who exactly is making this a race issue? You are the one making idiotic statements claiming the reason Alverez lost is because he is mexican. The majority voted for Faulconer, I don't see how that is pitting neighborhoods or classes against others. People voted, and more people wanted Faulconer than they wanted some guy who got 80% of his campaign money from elsewhere in the country. If it was a race and class issue, then Alverez would have won because there are more minorities and poor people in San Diego than there are "rich white folk"

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | February 12, 2014 at 2:57 p.m. ― 3 years, 1 month ago

JOHN MARKKK says "Awesome, a militant communist is not going to will an election."

1) JOHN MARKKK didn't even bother to vote by his own admission

2) I didn't know Alvarez was a communist, militant or otherwise.

3) I suppose some communists are more militant than others.

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | February 12, 2014 at 2:58 p.m. ― 3 years, 1 month ago

If I was Alvarez I would not have had Toni Atkins next to me, it would be like Faulconer having Tim Donnelly standing next to him!

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | February 12, 2014 at 3:01 p.m. ― 3 years, 1 month ago



Women Say Schwarzenegger Groped, Humiliated Them - Los ...‎
Los Angeles Times
Oct 2, 2003 - Six women who came into contact with Arnold Schwarzenegger on movie sets, in studio offices and ... A campaign aide denies the accusations.

Oh, yeah, that's right! He's a "RINO"!

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Avatar for user 'Boots'

Boots | February 12, 2014 at 3:20 p.m. ― 3 years, 1 month ago

Viewing comments by trollbaggers shows just how toxic this "special election"was, further dividing SD

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Avatar for user 'GoSD'

GoSD | February 12, 2014 at 5:45 p.m. ― 3 years, 1 month ago

This is all about liberal economics that have failed so miserably the last 5 years. People are sick of being taxed to pay for the entitled moochers who live off the government. Our country is dying because we punish success and empower failure. We now provide more incentives to people who don't work than for people that do work. The amount of workers dropping out of the work force entirely and going on the government dime is astounding. This isn't progress. I applaud SD - hopefully we see this throughout the US this year.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | February 12, 2014 at 9:01 p.m. ― 3 years, 1 month ago

Wow Boots, you ain't kidding about the trollbaggers on here.

People I have never seen on these forums before coming out to spew hate even though their guy won!

I find it ironic that someone with the name "DumbingDownAmerica" just went on a hate rant about Alvarez calling him a coward for not calling Mr. Faulconer to concede when, in fact, he did.

It clearly reveals who the "dumbed down" person is here, eh?

Then there's GoSD, another "bright light" ranting about taxes even though SD has some of the lowest local taxes of a major city.

It really reveals that tea party cranks are never happy and just like to complain regardless.

Can you imagine if someone like "DumbingDownAmerica" or "GoSD" (who by the way in another post revealed he thinks we should pay for a chargers stadium but do away with the libraries) is one of the wealthy tea party donors who funneled money through the Lincoln Gang to get Faulconer elected?

They are no going to be pressuring him to fulfill their hard right agenda.

This is my biggest fear about Faulconer.

I think he, as a person, is relatively moderate but the hateful freaks think a Republican in office automatically means full on tea party agenda.

Let's see how Faulconer is really able to stand up to these rabit hate mongrels.

By the way, all one had to do is look at the tweets coming from Republican bosses and tea party trolls last night to see that those who elected Mr. Faulconer have absolutely zero interest in a moderate, bi-partisan mayor!

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | February 12, 2014 at 9:08 p.m. ― 3 years, 1 month ago

Mission actually brings up a good point that I never thought of before.

Republicans chastise the Dems for not "vetting" Filner better, yet they ran Mr. Schwarzenegger who was a long-established womanizer and sexual compulsive in Hollywood.

Who knows, maybe he cleaned up his act OR maybe he didn't and the Republican bosses were able to keep his in-office misdeeds covered-up and paid-off under the table.

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Avatar for user 'Boots'

Boots | February 13, 2014 at 12:56 a.m. ― 3 years, 1 month ago

As usual, PD nails it,rage filled yet unintentionally hilarious posts by trolls,which 98% of experts agree that best policy is, Don't Feed! and flag and report.@GoSD "This is all about liberal economics that have failed so miserably the last 5 years."Are they aware the last several Mayors were Republican?Are the aware how the great recession happened?

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | February 13, 2014 at 10:24 a.m. ― 3 years, 1 month ago

GOOSD, next time you have a pot hole on your street, fill it yourself since you don't want to pay your fair share of taxes!

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Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | February 13, 2014 at 10:55 a.m. ― 3 years, 1 month ago

Missionaccomplished I always flinch a little when I hear someone say people need to pay their "fair share" of taxes, and they are usually talking about people who earn more money than them. What is fair about a hard working person having to give away 50% of their income in taxes while the highschool dropout with 4 kids keeps 100% of his wages as well as some of my tax dollars? What is fair about that? Does that encourage people to work hard, or to not work?

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Avatar for user 'RLA'

RLA | February 15, 2014 at 8:13 p.m. ― 3 years, 1 month ago

The polls showed a virtual tie. What made the huge difference in the results? Maybe Obama's endorsement had an effect after all.

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Avatar for user 'Eddie89'

Eddie89 | February 18, 2014 at 7:27 a.m. ― 3 years, 1 month ago

"I'm a uniter, not a divider." Where have we heard that one before? I guess we'll just have to take the wait and see approach.

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