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Sanders Wins Four More Years

Photo caption:


(Photo: Mayor Sanders speaks to supporters on election night, with his wife, Rana at his side. Nathan Gibbs/KPBS )

San Diegans won’t have to wait till November to see who the next mayor is. Incumbent Jerry Sanders topped 53 percent of the vote, leaving his rival, businessman Steve Francis, lagging well behind. Francis earned just 35 percent, in spite of spending well over $4 million on the campaign. KPBS reporter Alison St John has more.

Mayor Sanders' ballroom at the Westgate Hotel was packed with familiar faces. Many of the city’s long time movers and shakers cheered as he claimed victory

Sanders: And this evening the voters of our city have bestowed on me a great honor by giving me the privilege  to serve as your mayor for another four years.

080604-francis-ng.jpg Mayoral candidate Steve Francis talks to a reporter on election night at Golden Hall. Nathan Gibbs/KPBS.
In the U.S. Grant Hotel next door, Steve Francis’ campaign headquarters for the night, the crowd was lighter. There was little evidence of the labor and environmental interest groups that endorsed him in the final weeks of the campaign.

Francis saw the results as evidence of San Diego’s entrenched power structure.

Francis :
We invested a lot and we put a lot into it but I think we got our message out and I think the message is that there is somewhat of an establishment in San Diego and it’s hard to break through..

John Neinstedt polled privately for the Republican Party before the election. He says  the momentum of Francis’ multi million dollar  TV ad blitz faltered towards the end of the campaign.

Neinstedt: Mr Francis peaked about three weeks ago and then Sanders got us back into the bond market and at that point that was about Francis high water mark and things went downhill from there.

The millions of dollars Francis spent of his own money to get name recognition may have back fired on him. Phil Blaire, chair of the San Diego Chamber of Commerce, credits voters for rejecting the negative messages about Sanders.

Blair : Talk about a man that deserves another four years to finish what he started and it’s so exciting that the voters saw that and that it came through that this city is not for sale, you can’t spend millions of dollars trying to buy the votes of San Diegans 

But some San Diegans had hoped a run off with Steve Francis would force Sanders to moderate his approach to reforms at city hall.  The city’s blue collar workers did not officially endorse Francis, but Joan Raymond of Local 127 says Sanders is an “unacceptable” candidate, because he’s pushed to phase out  traditional employee pension plans.

Raymond: I think it’s disappointing because an outright victory for Sanders is going to embolden him to work with us even less than he already has and he has not been easy to work with.

From Sanders' point of view, the results are a vote of confidence in his reforms. He says he’s relieved he’ll no longer have to split his time between running the city and campaigning .

Sanders: I think that it allows us to focus to move ahead right away instead of another 6 months of campaigning. I think it allows the city to get settled right away and we get to start really working on a lot of those issues.

With the mayor’s race settled, the focus of the next election season will be on the three undecided city council races, and the final run-off for the city attorney’s race.

Alison St John, KPBS News.  



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