So the U-T says Mayor Jerry Sanders wants to run for re-election.

Here’s the take:

Speculation abounds that Sanders privately told backers his plans in January to prevent support from going to other like-minded candidates.

That speculation was pretty well confirmed in February in this voiceofsandiego.org story:

Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2007 | Over a breakfast of omelets and fresh fruit, Mayor Jerry Sanders made himself clear to a group of his heftiest political supporters two weeks ago: He will be seeking a second term in next year’s elections.

Sanders has not publicly announced his aspirations for re-election, but the announcement — confirmed by several attendees of the Jan. 22 event — signals Sanders’ efforts to shore up political and financial support before any other potential challengers can begin courting them.

We always wondered why nobody else picked up that story.

So, what do you think? Is Sanders going to have any competition for re-election? A lot of people are speculating that City Councilwoman Donna Frye will give it a third shot. She’s the only prominent Democrat in this town that has mustered the courage to run for mayor in recent years. Even when former Mayor Dick Murphy was getting hammered virtually every day, not a single major San Diego Democrat was tough enough to challenge him.

As election season wore on, Frye decided to throw her hat in to make that incredible write-in campaign. She almost pulled it off.

Running this time, however, would be her toughest challenge. The stars virtually aligned in her favor after Murphy resigned under a cloud of controversy. Yet, in the special election to replace him, Frye couldn’t close the deal. Now you have a politically stronger mayor running as an incumbent for re-election.

Common sense would hold that challenging Sanders now would be much tougher.

Then again, I’m the first to admit that I’m dreadful at predicting elections.

On the other hand, of course, it’s obvious businessman Steve Francis wants to run for mayor. Now, the question is, will he?

I thought this story was good exploring the topic.

If I were to place a wager, I’d say Francis goes for it (he certainly has the financial freedom to do it, according to this timely story) and then Frye jumps in. Sanders has a good chance of winning 50 percent of the vote in the primary and therefore avoiding a runoff in the general election unless he’s challenged by two major candidates. If Francis has the confidence to give it a shot, that’ll give Frye another rational reason for going for it.

We’ll see.

SCOTT LEWIS

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