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San Diego Mayor’s Race: Endorsements, New Plans And Press Conference Campaigning

Aired 1/22/14 on KPBS News.

Sen. Barbara Boxer endorsed David Alvarez, San Diego Realtors put their support behind Kevin Faulconer. It's just another day in the race to be mayor of America's Finest City.

With Election Day looming, it is no surprise that mayoral candidates and Councilmen David Alvarez and Kevin Faulconer are like political gophers, popping up everywhere.

In less than three weeks San Diegans will go to the polls and pick their next mayor, and this is one of those points in the race where press conference reporting becomes the name of the game -- candidates stage events and a slew of cameras show up to package it for the evening news.

So what are the latest press conferences all about? Democrat David Alvarez pulled out a big gun, getting a hug and an endorsement from and from U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer.

Boxer, Alvarez and interim Mayor Todd Gloria toured a local solar power company Tuesday, highlighting environmental sustainability. But the real focus was on Alvarez’s campaign.

Boxer told the crowd of workers and reporters that getting out the vote was imperative.

“We know these special elections are tough,” she said. “People are all like, 'Well you know what, I’m so tired. Do I really have to vote? My kid has a cold,'” she said, citing a laundry list of excuses. “But people must vote.”

That is the point of the press conference deluge, to keep the candidates in the public eye and engage potential voters. After a tense election for mayor in 2012 and the epic undoing of the winner of that race, disgraced former Mayor Bob Filner, not to mention an already exhaustive primary election in November-- the term election fatigue seems an understatement.

Still the daily roll call of press conferences and candidate appearances is the way the game is played. When it is not an endorsement, it is often the release of a new policy plan.

Republican Kevin Faulconer matched Alvarez’s Boxer endorsement with a 4-point plan for bridging the divide between the North and South of Interstate 8. The plan hits the familiar notes of returning power to neighborhoods, increasing the number of police and fixing potholes. He also handed out coffee to new U.S. citizens at a naturalization ceremony this week.

Faulconer clearly is trying to buck the notion that he is an establishment candidate and burnish his grass-roots, across-the-aisle credentials.

On Wednesday, the Republican councilman announced another more expected endorsement, grabbing the support of the San Diego Association of Realtors.

On the other side, Alvarez is trying to sharpen his resume, accrue high profile endorsements and light a fire under progressives and Democrats who are larger in number now than Republicans, but less likely to vote.

Will any of this work to get out the vote or push one candidate over the top? The one prediction that can safely be made is that there will be many more staged events and press conferences in the days to come.

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