A former candidate who was unclear on the concept of how you get to call yourself a “state senator” — by getting elected — has finally gotten the message.

Jeff Perwin’s website, until recently, declared:

Perwin said he revised his site on Saturday after receiving a letter from the State Senate requesting that he change his site by Aug. 1. “I completely cleaned the site up,” he said. “I’ll probably delete the site. I’m not even using it anymore.”

“It was not the intent to make it look like I won the election,” said Perwin, who is unemployed but formerly worked as an engineer and real estate broker.

He won the Republican primary in 2008 but lost the election to incumbent Christine Kehoe. He received 31 percent of the vote to her 65 percent.

Perwin revised the site to say he is “San Diego Republican Party State Senate Ex-Officio, 39th District.”

The site also includes photos of Perwin with Mayor Jerry Sanders and talk-show host Roger Hedgecock. But a page inside the site acknowledged that he lost, saying: “What would Jeff do if he had been elected to the California State Senate?”

By winning a local Republican primary, Perwin automatically became a voting member of the Republican Party of San Diego County Central Committee, said Barrett Tetlow, executive director of the San Diego County Republican Party.

The position, given to those who win state and congressional primaries, is known as “ex-officio.”

Perwin said he originally meant for his site to refer to his position with the party, but “I didn’t really understand the exact title.”

He didn’t just limit his use of the prestigious title of state senator to his website. He also used it to introduce himself to strangers, including voiceofsandiego.org employees during an unsolicited trip to our offices earlier this year.

Perwin acknowledged the visit but said, “I don’t go around telling people I’m a senator.”

While discussing last year’s election, Perwin said he didn’t really want to run. “I’m not a politician. I was asked four hours before the deadline (by the Republican Party) to run for the Senate. I’m not really interested, even though I ran twice for politics. I’m more of a community leader.”

For the time being, Perwin said, he is focusing on finding work and volunteering.

— RANDY DOTINGA

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