Tuesday, July 26, 2005 | The mayoral candidates were out in full force across the city on the last day of voting today, grasping on street corners and in shopping malls for undecided voters and encouraging supporters to head to the polls.

With experts uncertain about turnout, today’s last-minute efforts could play a big part in who will make it – either to a November runoff or directly to the Mayor’s Office – and the big players in the race hustled accordingly, often remaining at their numerous stops for mere minutes.

After voting near his Kensington home early in the morning, former police chief Jerry Sanders appeared at a major intersection in Midway midday, waving at passing cars and holding campaign signs with supporters.

“It’s tough work, but it’s also a lot fun,” said Sanders of his first campaign for elected office. He is considered to be in a close battle with businessman Steve Francis for second place in today’s election, with most polls predicting that one of them will end up in a runoff against Councilwoman Donna Frye.

If no candidate receives more than 50 percent of the votes cast, the top two vote-getters advance to a runoff.

Following a midmorning rally at her campaign headquarters, Frye headed out for a day of appearances around the city, including a lunchtime visit to City Deli in Hillcrest and an afternoon stop at the University Towne Center shopping mall in La Jolla.

About five or six Francis supporters also waved signs downtown in the afternoon, hoping to give their candidate the push recent polls say he needs to beat out fellow Republican Sanders.

“It all comes down to today,” said Joe Phair, a volunteer with the Francis campaign.

Phair, 24, said he and a group of other young volunteers for Francis had been on street corners downtown throughout the day waving colorful, homemade signs with informal messages like, “Honk if you love Francis.”

Their seemingly last-ditch effort exemplifies the unguarded push by all the campaigns to find sympathetic voters and get them to the polls. On an Election Day when all are wondering just how many voters are going to show up, each camp worked as if any given voter could make the crucial difference.

An informal query of visitors to a Midway-area supermarket revealed that many San Diegans are aware of the day’s significance. But indecision about whom to vote for made respondents unsure about whether or not they would head to the polls.

“I like Frye because she’s an environmentalist, but I think Sanders has a better plan to turn the city around,” said Michelle Weeks, 30, who was uncertain about whether she would vote.

Out of approximately 60 shoppers queried, 10 said they were not aware of today’s election. Another 10 or so said they were aware of the election, but didn’t plan to vote.

The first results from today’s voting are expected shortly after 8 p.m., when polls close for the day. The candidates will spend the evening either at Election Central in the Westgate Hotel downtown or at their own gatherings.

Please contact Ian Port directly at

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