If there’s one person who thinks U.S. Congressman Bob Filner is going to be the next mayor of San Diego, it’s U.S. Congressman Bob Filner.

“I have won about, I don’t know, 25 elections,” Filner told a scrum of reporters outside the City Clerk’s Office after he filed his campaign paperwork Wednesday. “I’m pretty confident in my ability to try to get the voters and not let the powerbrokers decide who’s going to be mayor of this city.”

Filner is vying to be San Diego’s first elected Democratic mayor in two decades. Even though the city’s registered Democrats outnumber Republicans, local Democrats’ record of woe is so great the party issued a press release last week touting just the idea that Filner and state Sen. Christine Kehoe might run for mayor.

Filner has served in Congress since 1993 and represents southern San Diego neighborhoods, cities such as Chula Vista and National City and much of Imperial County. He has long toyed with the idea of running for mayor. Now he’s sure he’s the right choice.

Here’s Filner on his campaign ability: “People will see the most aggressive campaign San Diego has ever seen.”

And on his fundraising skill: “If you look back at some of my races for school board, City Council, I generally set records for the amount of money raised for any given office that I was running. That was at a time when we had half of the limits here.” Filner then chuckled.

And on the negatives to him running: “That my constituents are losing an incredible voice in the Congress.”

Filner has been involved in San Diego politics since the late 1970s, serving on the school board and City Council and then in Congress. He’s irascible and had a high-profile tirade about missing airport luggage that resulted in a $100 fine and court-ordered apology to a baggage clerk. He’s the first Democrat to say he’s running unequivocally, and his presence diversifies a mayoral race so far dominated by three Republican heavyweights.

On Wednesday, he was more smile than snarl. He repeated his campaign mantra twice so people would get the point: “I have an outsider’s approach and view combined with an insider’s understanding of the problems and the solutions.”

Chief among those problems, of course, is the city’s decade-long pension and budget difficulties. Like all of the major candidates in the race except for Republican City Councilman Carl DeMaio, Filner doesn’t have an answer yet. He promised a detailed pension plan of his own in about a month, and opposes a ballot measure that would give most new employees 401(k)s. Filner, who traditionally has had strong support from organized labor, said his solution won’t come solely from city employee concessions.

“I will have a plan that shares the responsibility where everybody has to make a sacrifice,” he said.

Filner also said he will have comprehensive economic development and alternative energy plans.

Please contact Liam Dillon directly at liam.dillon@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.550.5663 and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/dillonliam.

Liam Dillon

Liam Dillon was formerly a senior reporter and assistant editor for Voice of San Diego. He led VOSD’s investigations and wrote about how regular people...

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