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San Diegans Head To Polls To Choose Alvarez Or Faulconer As Mayor

City Councilmen Kevin Faulconer and David Alvarez.

Photo by Angela Carone

Above: City Councilmen Kevin Faulconer and David Alvarez.

Special Feature Special Election

Just less than 50 percent of San Diegans are predicted to vote in Tuesday's special mayoral election between City Councilmen David Alvarez and Kevin Faulconer.

A new poll released Sunday shows Alvarez has caught up to Faulconer and both candidates are now locked in a statistical dead heat.

Polls close Tuesday at 8 p.m. Voters can find their polling places here. If voters have mail-in ballots that have not yet been sent in, they can be returned to any polling place or the San Diego County Registrar of Voters at 5600 Overland Ave.

Tuesday's runoff election was scheduled on relatively short notice after a primary in November narrowed the field of candidates to two, the Republican Faulconer and the Democrat Alvarez. Faulconer won the most votes in the primary, collecting 42 percent of all ballots cast, while Alvarez narrowly defeated fellow Democrat Nathan Fletcher.

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

As of Monday, 163,571 voters had returned vote-by-mail ballots, according to the San Diego County Registrar of Voters. That's about 47 percent of all mail ballots sent out.

The National University System Institute of Policy Research predicts more than 100,000 ballots will be cast Tuesday.

Although Faulconer and Alvarez displayed a friendly relationship during the mayoral primary, their race turned ugly near the end. 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.

Because both candidates are on the City Council, a win by either means an empty council seat. That seat will be filled by appointment, not a special election.

Election 2020 news coverage


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Claire Trageser
Investigative Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksAs a member of the KPBS investigative team, my job is to hold the powerful in San Diego County accountable. I've done in-depth investigations on political campaigns, police officer misconduct and neighborhood quality of life issues.

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