San Diegans Head To Polls To Elect New Mayor
San Diegans are headed to the polls today in the special election to replace former Mayor Bob Filner.
Ten men are on the ballot to be the next San Diego mayor. Four, former City Attorney Mike Aguirre, Councilman David Alvarez, Councilman Kevin Faulconer and former state Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, have regularly polled above at least 5 percent. If no candidate earns 50 percent of the vote today, a runoff between the top two vote getters will be scheduled early next year.
After Filner's resignation in mid-August over sexual harassment claims, candidates quickly launched campaigns to replace him.
Fletcher, Aguirre, Faulconer and Alvarez filed papers to run, along with a crop of outliers including lawyer Hud Collins and SDSU student Michael Kemmer. Bruce Coons, executive director of the preservationist group Save Our Heritage Organisation, dropped out of the race in early October, while other potential candidates like former City Councilman Carl DeMaio and Interim Mayor Todd Gloria decided not to run.
Aguirre had less campaign contributions and far fewer endorsements than his competitors, but used the campaign to spread his message about the city’s large pension payments.
Alvarez is considered the progressive's choice for mayor, with endorsements from the San Diego Imperial Counties Labor Council, Councilwomen Myrtle Cole and Marti Emerald, former Councilwoman Donna Frye and the San Diego County Democratic Party. During Alvarez's campaign, he promised to improve neighborhood infrastructure and boost affordable housing.
Fletcher, a Republican-turned-Independent-turned-Democrat, took heat from all sides during the campaign, but notched key endorsements from prominent Democrats like Gov. Jerry Brown and state Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez. Fletcher's campaign focused on creating jobs, boosting police staffing and decreasing emergency response times.
Faulconer, the lone Republican, received endorsements from the Republican Party of San Diego County, former Mayor Jerry Sanders, the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce and former City Council President Tony Young. His campaign emphasized his moderate stances on social issues and plans to increase police staffing and improve roads.
If no candidate wins the majority of votes today, the top two vote-getters will have to continue momentum over the holidays into the runoff early next year. The winner of that election will serve out the remainder of Filner's term, and then can run for one more term in 2016.