What Happens When Campaign Fatigue Strikes

What Happens When Campaign Fatigue Strikes

Photos by Sam Hodgson

Kevin Faulconer (left) and Nathan Fletcher

The good news: There was a moment in Wednesday night’s KUSI roundtable when two of the mayoral candidates took a detour from the talking points we’ve heard on repeat at dozens of other debates. The bad news: Things got pretty ugly.

During the televised “discussion” between the top four candidates, Nathan Fletcher seemed to prod Kevin Faulconer into a temporary meltdown.

KUSI moderator Ross Becker asked Faulconer about advocating for neighborhoods (he was vague about it when pressed at our #noBSmayor debate).

Faulconer said the next mayor would need to stand up for neighborhoods and make independent decisions when it comes to the city’s budget.

Fletcher jumped in, citing our reporting on the La Jolla confab where Republicans settled on Faulconer as their candidate of choice.

In the clip below, things get heated around 1:55, and escalate until Becker redirects at 4:30.

KUSI.com – KUSI News – San Diego CA – News, Weather, PPR

Nathan Fletcher: I’ve got a question on this.

Ross Becker: Yes, Nathan, go ahead.

NF: Kevin, it was widely reported that the Republican Party, the Lincoln Club, Doug Manchester and a handful of folks got together in a room to pick their candidate, and that you committed that you would not run unless they anointed you and did that. Did you make that commitment? Did you agree to not run unless they picked you or not? I mean, that’s an easy yes or no. That’s an easy yes or no.

Kevin Faulconer: I’ve been a Republican and Mr. Fletcher’s been a Republican, an independent and now a labor union Democrat, so I’m proud of the support that I’ve had and continue to have that. And I think that’s what we, we want a mayor …

NF: But it’s the same question, Kevin, it’s a yes or no. Did you make a commitment to say you wouldn’t run unless they picked you? ‘Cause that was widely reported, that the group, the party, the Lincoln Club, Manchester who owns the Union-Tribune and the downtown interests, got in a room to pick a candidate, and it was reported that you said you would not run unless they anointed you and picked you. Did you make that commitment, yes or no?

KF: Nathan, you have to be independent …

NF: So demonstrate that and answer the question.

KF: Are you going to allow me to finish, Nathan?

NF: Go ahead.

KF: You want me to finish?

NF: Please.

KF: Thank you. As mayor, I’m going to have that independence. And that’s something that I don’t think you know too much about, as you’ve had all this support from all these public employee groups who are coming to you, now they’re going to want things for you to do. That’s the difference between you and me, my friend …

NF: (over Faulconer) But you still aren’t answering the question, Kevin. It’s a simple question. Did you make that commitment, yes or no?

KF: (over Fletcher) Nathan, Nathan, you have changed your vote on so many occasions, so how when you’re talking to people today, you’re going to talk about independence, how can people believe what you’re saying?

NF: (over Faulconer) Exactly this …

KF: (over Fletcher) You’ve been a Republican, you’ve been an independent, and now you’re a labor union Democrat, all in the span of one year.

NF: Sure, I’ll answer this, but I want to point out for the record that you refused to answer if you made that commitment, if you said you wouldn’t run unless they picked you. And I think that’s all voters need to know.

KF: Everybody makes their choice to run, Nathan, and I made my choice to run just like you made your choice to run. What I don’t think you understand …

NF: Did you commit that you wouldn’t run unless they picked you?

KF: … Nathan, is that voters don’t want somebody like you who they can’t trust. Because they have no idea where you are on the issues.

RB: (to Fletcher) Why is that important, Nathan?

KF: You’ve been on every side of every issue, Nathan.

NF: Here’s why I think it’s important. Because I’ve always been somebody who’s been willing to stand up for what I believe is right. I’ve always been an independent voice. I’ve never been someone that toed the party line. Now, the Republican Party changed. We’ve seen an influence of the tea party. We’ve seen an influence uh, we’ve seen the Republican Party drift further and further to the right …

KF: Have you spoken to the tea party?

NF: I speak to all kinds of groups.

KF: So the answer’s yes.

NF: I would still go today. But you saw the Republican Party — hang on, let me answer the question (all talking). We’ve seen the party change. And as we go through life, we change. We get new information. I’m not going to stay in a wrong position that I believe is wrong, right? You want a mayor who has an open mind, who’s willing to look at facts and who’s willing to make decisions. But I’ve always been someone who’s had that ability to bring folks together, and been willing to stand up … 

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Catherine Green

Catherine Green

Catherine Green is deputy editor at Voice of San Diego. She handles daily operations while helping to plan new long-term projects. You can contact her directly at catherine.green@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.550.5668. Follow her on Twitter: @c_s_green.

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12 comments
mblazzaro
mblazzaro

The fact that Faulconer has not distanced himself from the Lincoln Club campaign tactics does not speak well for him.

LincolnPickard
LincolnPickard

I will instruct the chief of police to issue CCW's to the law abiding citizens of the City of San Diego as provided by law and the strong mayor form of government. I am a pro-life Republican. I believe marriage is between one man and one women. I will fight for lower tax rates and less government regulation (e.i. limited government). I will fight for "Christmas" on the Prado. For more details: http://www.VotePickard.com

Mike Delahunt
Mike Delahunt

Faulconer can't give a straight answer but wants our votes? He is nothing more than another pandering empty suit pigging his way up the public trough.

Mike Delahunt
Mike Delahunt subscriber

Faulconer can't give a straight answer but wants our votes? He is nothing more than another pandering empty suit pigging his way up the public trough.

David Hall
David Hall

It is fascinating to watch Kevin Faulconer bash Nathan Fletcher for changing parties while spouting off about the importance of being independent. And yet he does not have the gonads to admit what everybody knows: that he bowed to his masters and waited for them to approve his candidacy before committing to run for mayor.

Is he a wimp or a hypocrite? One thing is for sure, he is no leader.

David Hall
David Hall subscriber

It is fascinating to watch Kevin Faulconer bash Nathan Fletcher for changing parties while spouting off about the importance of being independent. And yet he does not have the gonads to admit what everybody knows: that he bowed to his masters and waited for them to approve his candidacy before committing to run for mayor.

Is he a wimp or a hypocrite? One thing is for sure, he is no leader.

Kevin Swanson
Kevin Swanson

Kevin Faulconer is the Republican Power Brokers anointed choice, and they are pissed off that Nathan Fletcher would not follow their directions. Seems like the Power Brokers are all white males with money, whether true or not. Have not seen much about Kevin faulconer's wife in the press.
Faulconer certainly will be in debt to the Republicans for all of the negative campaign ads attacking Fletcher.
People really blame Fletcher for independent thinking? Doing the same thing or making the same decisions even though you have updated information that tells you to change your actions is what created our present mess.
Faulconer danced around the answer because he knew if he answered it truthfully he would guarantee loss of votes.

Kevin Swanson
Kevin Swanson subscribermember

Kevin Faulconer is the Republican Power Brokers anointed choice, and they are pissed off that Nathan Fletcher would not follow their directions. Seems like the Power Brokers are all white males with money, whether true or not. Have not seen much about Kevin faulconer's wife in the press.
Faulconer certainly will be in debt to the Republicans for all of the negative campaign ads attacking Fletcher.
People really blame Fletcher for independent thinking? Doing the same thing or making the same decisions even though you have updated information that tells you to change your actions is what created our present mess.
Faulconer danced around the answer because he knew if he answered it truthfully he would guarantee loss of votes.

Helen Weals
Helen Weals

He has apparently been to the same class I took on how to handle media interviews - they teach you to never answer a question that could damage you, and to just keep repeating your talking pounts, no matter how irrelevant to the question being asked.

Helen Weals
Helen Weals subscriber

He has apparently been to the same class I took on how to handle media interviews - they teach you to never answer a question that could damage you, and to just keep repeating your talking pounts, no matter how irrelevant to the question being asked.

Bill Bradshaw
Bill Bradshaw

Wait a minute. When the Republican party endorsed Carl DeMaio instead of Fletcher, Fletcher quit the party. The so-called “power brokers” haven’t paid any attention to Fletcher since. How does that constitute being “pissed off”. And these “power brokers” aren’t all white males by any means. Have you met Vince Mudd or Jesse Knight?

What’s this bit about Faulconer’s wife? She’s not running for anything, she simply has a business servicing convention groups. When she changed business addresses she paid some tax bill late. This is campaign news?

As for Faulconer’s indebtedness to the Republican party, sure. He sought their support and got it. He’s the only Republican in the race. His record of bipartisanship on the council speaks for itself. Ask Donna Frye or Todd Gloria.

Fletcher’s party switch two-step is hardly a demonstration of independence. Like Faulconer, he needed financial and campaign support and finally got it via some of the public employee unions and from possibly the biggest power broker in town, Qualcomm co-founder Irwin Jacobs, who provided a nice “position” with his company and I’d wager, plenty of campaign cash as well through a PAC.

Fletcher’s “the party left me” claim, a la Reagan, just doesn’t wash. It happened too quickly and coincided with the Republicans decision to support DeMaio for mayor last year. Once he realized there would be Democrats in the mayor’s race he completed the two-step but, alas, Alvarez got the party endorsement because, like most Republicans, the Democrats didn’t trust his zigs and zags.

Bill Bradshaw
Bill Bradshaw subscribermember

Wait a minute. When the Republican party endorsed Carl DeMaio instead of Fletcher, Fletcher quit the party. The so-called “power brokers” haven’t paid any attention to Fletcher since. How does that constitute being “pissed off”. And these “power brokers” aren’t all white males by any means. Have you met Vince Mudd or Jesse Knight?

What’s this bit about Faulconer’s wife? She’s not running for anything, she simply has a business servicing convention groups. When she changed business addresses she paid some tax bill late. This is campaign news?

As for Faulconer’s indebtedness to the Republican party, sure. He sought their support and got it. He’s the only Republican in the race. His record of bipartisanship on the council speaks for itself. Ask Donna Frye or Todd Gloria.

Fletcher’s party switch two-step is hardly a demonstration of independence. Like Faulconer, he needed financial and campaign support and finally got it via some of the public employee unions and from possibly the biggest power broker in town, Qualcomm co-founder Irwin Jacobs, who provided a nice “position” with his company and I’d wager, plenty of campaign cash as well through a PAC.

Fletcher’s “the party left me” claim, a la Reagan, just doesn’t wash. It happened too quickly and coincided with the Republicans decision to support DeMaio for mayor last year. Once he realized there would be Democrats in the mayor’s race he completed the two-step but, alas, Alvarez got the party endorsement because, like most Republicans, the Democrats didn’t trust his zigs and zags.