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The local Democratic Party’s central committee is scheduled tonight to consider an endorsement in the city attorney’s race, marking the second time the group has pondered such an endorsement in the contentious race.

In November, the committee failed to give Aguirre the early endorsement typically bestowed upon incumbents.

Now, the committee will have three Democrats to chose from in the race: Aguirre, attorney Amy Lepine and Council President Scott Peters.

Here’s some analysis from San Diego Politico, a liberal blog:

Last November incumbent City Attorney Mike Aguirre came up two votes short of the 60% threshold in order to receive the early incumbent endorsement. Since then council president Scott Peters has joined the race for city attorney and will also be seeking the party endorsement. It should also be noted that when Scott Peters ran for re-election back in 2004, he didn’t win the early incumbent then, instead [it] went to Kathryn Burton**. If the November central committee meeting was any indication, Tuesday night’s meeting stands to be quite contentious.

Whether or not the party gives Aguirre the endorsement could be big news — either the party has abandoned its incumbent or the city attorney has managed to snag his first big institutional support of this campaign.

With the party endorsement also comes the potential for perhaps hundreds thousands of dollars in campaign expenditures. Unlike candidates, political parties aren’t held to the strict individual donation limits of $320. The candidate who wins the endorsement can typically count on the party to spend money on directly wooing party members, freeing up the candidate to use campaign cash for going after voters who aren’t party members. (My colleague Scott Lewis detailed the phenomenon last year.)

**Update: Burton called me to say that the San Diego Politico report is incorrect; instead the party co-endorsed Burton and Peters.

ANDREW DONOHUE

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