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Republican businessman Steve Francis will formally announce his intention to run for mayor of San Diego tomorrow, making official a candidacy that has appeared a foregone conclusion for months.

The announcement will take place at Francis’ company, the temporary nursing firm AMN Healthcare, at 10:00 a.m. tomorrow.

Francis finished third in the primary of the 2005 special election and was Mayor Jerry Sanders’ primary opponent from the right. Since then, Francis has stayed in the public eye, donating to political causes, including Sanders’ 2006 ballot proposals, and founding the right-leaning think tank The San Diego Institute for Policy Research. (For more on how Francis stayed relevant, read this profile.)

In 2005, Francis came out of relative obscurity in less than two months to give Sanders a serious challenge in the primary. Spending $2 million of his own money, Francis hammered the television airwaves with ads challenging the records of Sanders and Councilwoman Donna Frye, who won the primary but ultimately lost to Sanders.

So far, no prominent Democrats have announced their intentions to run.

This is from Francis’ press release:

Months ago, I began the process of meeting with my fellow San Diegans including neighborhood associations, community groups, planning boards and citizens throughout San Diego. In addition I have met with business owners, labor leaders, and elected officials. The message I received was loud and clear. San Diego wants and needs new leadership to restore fiscal integrity, ethics and transparency in government.

ANDREW DONOHUE

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