Mayoral candidate Steve Francis hits the television airwaves tomorrow with two slick advertisements and says he will continue running television ads until the June 3 primary.

That means things in the mayor’s race could get expensive, quickly.

While the independently wealthy businessman refused to say this morning how much he plans to spend on his second run for office, he spent more than $2 million on the eight-week primary campaign following Mayor Dick Murphy’s resignation in 2005. In that time, he went from a virtually unknown to finish third in a crowded field, three percentage points behind Jerry Sanders, who went on to win the general election.

This time around, the primary campaign will last nearly six months — Francis officially jumped into the campaign in the middle of January.

The campaign said the first television buy, which will run daily for a number of weeks locally, cost $200,000. That doesn’t include production costs on the two 60-second spots, which were put together by Squier Knapp Dunn Communications, a Washington, D.C. firm that has previously worked for New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, President Bill Clinton and former Vice President Al Gore.

Here’s the first one, called “Story:”

Here’s the second one, called “My Name:”

A couple points: After introducing the ads, Francis talked with reporters and said he’d ran too partisan of a campaign when he and current Mayor Jerry Sanders first went against each other in 2005. Indeed, he campaigned as a meat-and-potatoes conservative Republican and really only hammered on two themes: slashing jobs from City Hall and his CEO experience.

These ads show his wife, Gayle Francis, prominently, even showing a cute old picture of the newlyweds from a couple of decades ago. He also is seen hanging out with kids in a playground of some sort and hits on all kinds of themes.

The primary one: Steve Francis. An independent mayor. For a change.

That’s not too far from Sanders’ 2005 campaign slogan, which was “Leadership for a Change.”

Francis said he was still a registered Republican, but he declared that “Jerry Sanders has decided he’s a Bush Republican.” He said the mayor was wed to the political donations that would come from big business and developers and his endorsement by the Republican Party. He did, however, admit that he voted for President Bush in 2000 and 2004 after being asked.

The mayoral challenger said he’s running a very different campaign than in 2005, saying that he now has time to tour the community and said he’s been spending a considerable amount of time in southeast San Diego.

ANDREW DONOHUE

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