With the news this morning that mayoral candidate Nathan Fletcher has quit the GOP to continue as an independent, we wanted to provide you with some stories to better understand the switch:
• From our early post today:
So while this isn’t shocking from a values standpoint, it’s important to put it in context: this comes just weeks after he pushed hard to out-conservative Carl DeMaio and block his endorsement by the GOP. And it comes on the heels of a U-T San Diego poll showing him lagging far behind DeMaio and Democrat Bob Filner.
• The tension between the typical San Diego Republican like Fletcher and the new breed has been bubbling for a while. In late 2010, Scott Lewis explained how DeMaio and local GOP chief Tony Krvaric were creating a new base — away from what they called the “establishment” of the Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Corp.
The piece ends with a prescient kicker about the chamber’s once-sought-after blessing:
DeMaio says those blessings don’t matter anymore. We’ll soon see. The next test will be in the 2012 race for mayor. DeMaio clearly wants to run.
(Chamber leader) Tom Wornham told me his bet was on Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher.
• The the rise of that new GOP became complete just weeks ago when the party picked DeMaio over Fletcher.
• One of Fletcher’s campaign talking points has been his ability to cross the aisle and work with people of all backgrounds. Liam Dillon’s piece earlier this year took a look at Fletcher the relationship-builder:
In politics, his approach has allowed him to win over San Diego’s police union, the Democratic speaker of the Assembly and the parents of a murdered Poway teenager. In the Marines, it allowed him to turn potential adversaries, from war-weary Iraqi fathers to African tribesmen, into trusted sources.
• Fletcher was one of two Republicans in the Assembly to support Democrat Gov. Jerry Brown’s tax reform plan last year:
“Sometimes we have to be willing to step out of our comfort zone just a little bit to do the right thing,” Fletcher declared during the Assembly debate.
• A 2002 New York Times story on the troubles of the state Republican Party (which invokes a Monty Python sketch about a dead parrot that a store clerk argues is just resting) quotes Fletcher saying “We’re not dead or resting, man. … We’re moving forward.”
• Fletcher’s push away from the party makes sense in his run for mayor. But it’s perhaps most shocking because he’s been considered a rising GOP star statewide. In February, a GOP strategist told the Sacramento Bee that if Fletcher becomes mayor, “then he’s immediately on the short list for statewide office for the Republicans.”
• Fletcher’s snub by the local GOP was included in a Bee piece on Republican infighting at several levels. The Bee labeled Fletcher as one of a couple state Republicans who possibly could win future higher office in California.
• Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his wife Ann each gave $500 to Fletcher’s mayoral campaign, U-T San Diego’s Tom Blair noted in October.
Dagny Salas is the web editor at voiceofsandiego.org. You can contact her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or 619.550.5669.
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