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I heard last night that the San Diego Democratic Club endorsed Scott Peters for city attorney. That’s a big political defeat for incumbent Mike Aguirre.

The Democratic Club is hardly part of whatever circle of evil Aguirre believes is trying to destroy him. In fact, all three Democrats in the race, Aguirre, Peters and Amy Lepine, showed up hoping for the Club’s endorsement. The Democratic Club spawned Stephen Whitburn’s candidacy for District 3 — and Whitburn’s candidacy is based on this Aguirre-like stance of fighting for people against the so-called establishment and developers. The point is, the Democratic Club is a natural constituency for Aguirre — one with which an incumbent like him shouldn’t have had much trouble.

It gets back to a central point about this horse race: Aguirre barely won in 2004. We all remember those tense days after the election when his lead kept shrinking as the registrar counted ballots.

And he had so many endorsements and groups supporting him then: He had people in the building and real estate industry. He had unions. I vividly remember Aguirre standing with Ron Saathoff, the president of the firefighters union, and Bill Farrar, the then-president of the Police Officers Association. He had business people, and of course, the Union-Tribune. He was a charismatic campaigner and effective debater. Many who were skeptical of him because of his litigious and fiery past were won over in meetings with him.

To say those groups aren’t with Aguirre now is a bit of an understatement.

They’ve all peeled off. The Labor Council is actively working against Aguirre to get Scott Peters elected, despite the fact that Peters wasn’t always a reliable labor vote on things like the living wage.

A core group of supporters for Aguirre exists in environmentalists and neighborhood activists. He’ll really need them to create some waves in coming months to get him another four years.

SCOTT LEWIS

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