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District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis didn’t need official announcements with sign-waving supporters behind her and television cameras in front. She picked up key support in her campaign to be San Diego’s next mayor without them.
Dumanis secured the endorsement of current and termed-out Mayor Jerry Sanders Tuesday, clearly a big name. Sanders’ backing came the same day that Republican City Councilman Kevin Faulconer endorsed Dumanis and ended his own long flirtation with running for the city’s top job. Dumanis now has the support of two high profile Republicans, giving her the credibility and gravitas that the two other Republicans in the race, City Councilman Carl DeMaio and Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, have to create for themselves.
“I’m honored to have the endorsement of Mayor Sanders,” Dumanis said in a release. “Jerry has led us through one of the most difficult times in the recent history of this city. We should all be grateful for his leadership and guidance.”
Though official campaigning began Sunday, themes for the three major Republican candidates already have emerged. DeMaio made his mayoral announcement at a community event, railing against organized labor and business lobbies and courting the populist support he’s built during his almost three years on the council. Fletcher, a young legislator without ties to City Hall, made his announcement at a high-tech company in Sorrento Valley and has relied heavily on the words “new” and “innovative.” Dumanis announced her campaign via an email to her supporters back in March to put to rest rumors she wasn’t serious about running. While DeMaio and Fletcher were out courting support this week, Dumanis held back and collected endorsements.
In short, DeMaio is running against the system, Fletcher is running past the system and Dumanis is running the system.
Sanders, a former city police chief and longtime Dumanis ally, said he chose her because he believed she had the executive and consensus-building experience needed for the job.
“Bonnie has incredible integrity, she does the right things for the right reasons and she’s been a public servant her entire career,” Sanders said in a video endorsement. “I believe Bonnie Dumanis will continue the progress that we’ve made.”
Sanders and Faulconer’s choice of Dumanis also just about kills the argument that a ballot measure to replace pensions with 401(k)s for most new city workers would be the only thing that mattered in the June primary. Sanders and Faulconer helped write the ballot measure and it enjoys broad support among Republican and business leaders, but Dumanis opposes it. Both Sanders and Faulconer said they evaluated Dumanis on more than one issue.
“I think you look at the totality of the candidate,” Sanders told the Union-Tribune.