We always hear that citywide elections in San Diego are nonpartisan. That’s true in the sense that there’s no party affiliation listed on the ballot. But the endorsement of a political party is critically important on today’s political landscape.

That’s why this news that the local Republican Party may rethink its endorsement of Mayor Jerry Sanders could be a big deal. It’s not necessarily that he’ll get a big boost from being able to put that endorsement up on his campaign website.

It’s that the local political parties in recent years have become prolific fundraisers. They are able to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to spread the word about the candidate to party members, freeing up candidates to spend their campaign cash to woo independents and those from the other political party.

And — this is key — the parties aren’t held by the same contribution limits. While Sanders can only accept $320 from an individual and nothing from a business or political organization, the party can accept unlimited funds from anyone or any organization.

Read my colleague Evan McLaughlin‘s in-depth piece from May on the phenomenon for more.


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