San Diego Mayor Raises $640,000 In Re-Election Bid
Not a single Democrat has announced an intention to challenge Faulconer
Our top story on midday, turn on any news channel and someone will be talking about the big political races coming up in 2016. Candidates for president are already making speeches and raising money and causing controversy a year and a half before election day. But locally when it comes to the San Diego Mayor's race next year there's not quite as much activity. In fact there's not one prominent Democrat who has declared an intention to challenge Republican Mayor Kevin Faulconer. Is it too soon or is there a fundamental problem facing Democrats when it comes to the mayor's race. Local political watchers say it has to do with who goes to the polls and how much it takes to win the primary election. Journey Mayor Scott Lewis editor-in-chief of the voice of San Diego. Author of a recent editorial. And Carl is joining us, a political science professor at Mesa College. Scott, you say on paper it looks like Democrats should have a good chance at unseating Mayor Faulconer next year. Why does this look good on paper? I don't necessarily think it's a good chance, I think you have a chance if they have a candidate that people like. Traditionally, over the last two years, the November election with the presidential election on the ballot has won the highest turnouts and Democrats benefit from turnout. The last time we had this situation Carl didn't have a chance in that election. Considering the wave of support for Democrats coming to the polls that your. So it's kind of surprising that no Democrat has run or file or indicated there running for mayor. I think that's interesting. And something I wanted to get down. We are 11 months away. Exactly, and there are more registered Democrats in the city of San Diego now then there are independents or Republicans. Yes, there are 39% of the registered voters in San Diego, who are Democrats. 29% and 20% are Republicans. You would think they would have an advantage. It's not easy unseating an incumbent. No wins implying they have a chance. But they do have a slight chance with their polling that say if they get to the June primary, that's the problem, they could do very well in November during the presidential election. That it is not clear they can you get there. Carl Luna, is it unusual for a party to not have announced any candidates at this point in the game? Usually Maureen, but at this point you at least have an idea of people who could be announced candidates. Warbling it seriously and raising money. Looking for supporters. What strikes me is there really isn't the Democratic bench going into this mayoral election. They haven't recouped over a year later. A special election are talking about is the one after Bob Filner to set -- resigned. Yes. Mr. boxer was able to win then. The Democrats did not go with nature Fletcher they went with a progressive liberal. It didn't work. Now they have no backup. There are some names out there like Marty block, Lorena Gonzales etc. but there's nobody on the city Council right now in the position to run. Unless you're going to find somebody on the school board to pop up or somebody in the business community whose expressed interest, they are liable to be thrown into the dance and Faulkner will win by default. There are plenty of people on the bench, but they are just sitting. Toni Atkins, we don't know what she's doing. She is the speaker of the assembly in California. High-profile politician and she is not announced what she's doing next. And Todd Gloria decided not to run. Nathan Fletcher decided not to run. One Vargas, he could have run had he decided to stay. They are purposely deciding not to run and I think that is what is interesting. And the point of your editorial is the Democratic challengers in San Diego find themselves in a particular political situation that makes it hard for them to get past the primary election. In next June. Is not just about finding a candidate to run, they need to find 2. Because if only one candidate runs, save Toni Atkins or Todd Gloria, they would face in June, Kevin Faulk there. The June primary has a much different demographic turnout. So it's likely that Kevin Faulconer would win that outright. Because we have a rule if you get more than 50% of the vote in a primary election, there is no runoff. So they would not benefit from that wave of them accredit supporters in the November election. So the most prominent labor leader in town leaves the US food and commercial workers and he's talked to people that are interested in running for mayor, but unless we can get 2 of the to commit, no one one of them wants to. Because that one challenger will most likely us. Right. So if you can get a libertarian to run, to somehow dilute the vote enough so that the mayor did not get his 50%, plus one, that would provoke the runoff and he might have a chance. That led them to agitate to get rid of that role. Seems to be what they identified as the reason they can't seem to win anything. Any theories as to buy it so hard for Democrats to win a primary elections? The traditional reasons are that while you have 55% of the registered voters, should break Democratic if they turn out to vote. On a primary you get older voters and more conservative voters. But you can only blame that is a problem for so long in a city that's becoming progressively moving purple blue. At some point this got to be able to win the primary in the general election not just wait for these votes to get up. They got to get there electorate together. There are other names that could jump in. Both have pretty much said they're not doing it. If you really want to build for that primary you should've started working on it six months ago. You don't bring it a B team at the last minute that's a failure of leadership of the local Democratic Party and supporters, to not realize they needed to have a game going prior to the primary day. Scott, any chance Republican might challenge Mayor Faulk there? I called Carl DeMaio who had high-profile split with supporters of Kevin Faulconer. He's been radical of Faulconer's and he might jump in again but he did hang up the phone on me. No Republican good standing would jump in because everyone is lined up pretty solidly behind Kevin Faulconer . But, was surprising to me is nobody wanted to take up this for the Democrats on the left. And even if David Alvarez for example, have decided to run. It's almost too late right now. This fundraising deadline the past and Kevin Faulconer announced he raised more than $20,000 for that. So they are ready and loaded and trying to intimidate. Is that love nothing more than to stroll into a second term without a challenge. Carl, during the unforgettable mayors race of 2012 between Bob Filner and DeMaio. Much was said about how both candidates were Mike the typical San Diego Mayor. Is Kevin Faulconer more like that mayor? Mayor Faulconer has more of a Sanders mode not by the leadership of people's and. He does not ruffle a lot of feathers. He's got the benefit of good touch it times. So you don't have a huge budget debate. But hard decisions right now are not really having to be made. The one thing that looms over him is the C factor. If the Chargers decide to leave between now the primary, that will have an impact on his popularity. Maybe Dan Democrats will have an advantage. He runs right down the middle in his personality. This policy adheres to the Chamber of Commerce Pro policies. Scott, is it perhaps Faulconer himself a might be hard to be ? Absolutely. They are looking at this and saying it would be tough and formidable as an opponent to get to November. And getting it to November seems difficult. He has not been caught harassing women or lost the Chargers yet and he's been able to hold himself blameless for that. He is also accomplished a budget that went through that was unanimously approved by city Council you with a majority of Democrats. It's nice to manage the city but there's more money. He is introducing more technology into the ranks, and transparency focus. He's embraced climate action plans, one of the most ambitious we could what. Hundred percent renewable energy for San Diego in their future. And all kinds of different major initiatives. He opposed minimum wage and that frustrated Democrats and progressives. That he has not done anything to cause outrage. Again, you can do polling and figure out a way that somebody could win in November but it would have to be an extremely popular person with a well-funded campaign. And that, like Carl said, would've been built starting more than six months ago . Carl, let's talk about the way the primary is conducted in San Diego. The simple majority standard for winning outright, it's not the way the state elections are run is that correct? No, for state elections you got the top to the past the finish line. More of the open Cajun primary system. So you end up with Republican Democrat or to Democrats or two Republicans. There will always be a general election. Here it is the first past the finish line. So because a majority in the primary, then the top 2 got want to general's. Is a good practice? I think it's inappropriate to call it a primary. I think they should probably call it an election. Because that might be confusing for people. The labor coalition and labor unions, there agitating and the Democratic Party chair, to get rid of that 50, plus one role. And just ensure the top two candidates run. That's what Chula Vista recently enacted. That they'll have to change the city charter which means it goes to vote. There is a charter Reform committee going forward, they got this recommendation but they haven't decided to consider it or put it on to a recommendation for the city Council approval. Keep in mind, the mayor cannot veto charter change recommendations from the city Council. So they could put something on the ballot without him vetoing it and forcing the majority to override. Your point being Carl, if I understand correctly, somewhere down the line it's not the problem of the way the election is held, it's the problem of perhaps how many Democrats are actually engaged in the process. Yes, the party has to build its stability to turn out voters whenever an election is being held. Because right now at the rate it's going, it could take 20 years for Democrats to get a voter majority that would guarantee a victory in the primaries. That's why they want to get one of the first-round election. If you're going to be a viable party, you got to figure out a way to overturn that within the next 10 years or less. Out of the problem with a charter amendment, this possibility the Council splits 5 to 4. Another sign of weakness. That would block any attempts to move this forward. So if Democrats cannot win by changing the rules, they need to figure how to win under the rules. It's almost like they spent counting on this demographic change for a long time, projecting it would usher in the Democratic majority forever. But, they cannot let their infrastructure at your feet if they can't get there voters to come out. On city Council change, that would not happen if the city Council race gets pushed into a runoff. That wouldn't happen until the same time as a vote on the city charter. It wouldn't be enacted to laughter that. But that is the same case up in La Jolla. They have 2 Democrats running against 1 Republican. There some concern on the left that one of those Democrats would drop out and cause that same primary dilemma for Democrats. So the labor made a point saying, I'm not going to endorse anyone in that race because I don't want anyone to me. Carl made the point that if the Chargers to go, that might really hurt Mayor Faulconer personality and his chances for reelection. Can you think of other things that could happen? That might turn this around. Make it more attractive for Democratic candidates . the mayor has a big decision to make in the next few months whether he's going to embrace a new style of expansion for the convention center. A split convention center versus a contiguous one which we been committed to. That's a big decision. If he cannot pull that off, and somehow the Chargers left, and other things were to fall apart. Maybe it would collapse. Is difficult to picture a crises getting so big that it gives a jump in the race and somebody has enough power to pull these things together. What we're looking at is the mayor strolling into reelection. I've been speaking with Scott Lewis and Carl Luna , thank you for joining us.
Faulconer, who so far is running unopposed in next year's election, received the donations during the first reporting period — through June 30 — according to the campaign, which reported that 95 percent of the contributions came from San Diego County residents.
"Over the last 15 months, we've worked to bring San Diegans together in support of a positive vision for our city and I think the outpouring of support demonstrates that we are on the right track," Faulconer said. "While many are focused on next year's election, I will continue to focus on fixing our roads and infrastructure, creating more opportunities for better paying jobs, and addressing the challenges that face our future."
Faulconer's campaign reported that an unaffiliated committee established to support his re-election, Communities United for Tomorrow's Economy, announced last week that it had raised $600,000.
The 2016 election ballot will also include races for city attorney, five City Council seats and a handful of local propositions.