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Start Your Engines: San Diego Mayoral Race Back In High Gear

Outside mayoral candidate and Councilman Kevin Faulconer's new campaign office in south San Diego, members of the Latino American Political Association throw their support behind the candidate, Jan. 6, 2014.

Aired 1/8/14 on KPBS News.

The race for mayor, which went quiet over the holidays, is back in action with both candidates sprinting toward election day on Feb. 11.

Councilmen and mayoral candidates David Alvarez and Kevin Faulconer are starting strong, opening up new campaign offices and once again touting those most prized pieces of electoral swag: endorsements.

At his new campaign office in south San Diego, Faulconer was joined by members of the Latino American Political Association of San Diego, or LAPA.

The association's Vice President Dolores Chavez said she knows some might be perplexed by their choice of the non-Latino Republican. “It’s surprising to a lot of media types, because they think you are a Hispanic organization, you should just totally be focused on the Hispanic candidate,” she said.

She said LAPA is focused on more than just getting Latinos elected, pointing out that many small-businesses owners could benefit from Faulconer’s policies.

Chavez said she is concerned the Hispanic candidate, Democrat David Alvarez, is under the thumb of the unions. “The unions say that they’ve got the money and this is the candidate that we should support,” she said. But she added, "we need to do what's best for the entire community."

LAPA endorsed disgraced ex-mayor Bob Filner in the last election cycle. Filner’s progressive policies were also championed by labor leaders.

But those who support Alvarez say it is Faulconer who is beholden — not to labor, but to business interests and developers. There is, after all, the story of how Faulconer was hand-picked by a group of San Diego conservative power players to replace the only Democratic mayor the city has seen in more than 20 years.

Both candidates are also vying for the spoils of Nathan Fletcher’s unsuccessful campaign, with those who endorsed him having to once again pick a candidate.

Alvarez released a list of more than 20 names of Democratic assembly members and state senators. Included is Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, a former union leader who was a big supporter of defeated candidate Fletcher.

Alvarez also picked up the San Diego Lifeguards, who had backed Fletcher. Fletcher himself endorsed Alvarez when he failed to make it to the runoff election.

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