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Democratic state Sen. Christine Kehoe left the San Diego mayor’s race Tuesday night, putting an end to a campaign she never officially committed to running.
“We gave it a lot of thought, talked to friends and supporters … and I came to the conclusion that I am not going to run for mayor in 2012. That’s it. The whole story,” Kehoe told the Union-Tribune in a brief interview in Sacramento as lawmakers were voting on the state budget.
Kehoe’s exit leaves four big names in the campaign: Democratic U.S. Congressman Bob Filner and Councilman Carl DeMaio, District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis and Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, all Republicans.
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Kehoe’s decision is the best news for Filner, who can ride party support through next June’s primary as the Republicans jockey for split endorsements and donations. The first public test for all four candidates ends Thursday with the conclusion of the three-week sprint that started with the beginning of official campaigning and ends with the closure of the financial reporting period for donations. Candidates will have to disclose publicly how much they have raised by Aug. 1.
Kehoe, 60, never fully committed to running for mayor, saying she was filing official paperwork to raise money and gauge her support. She hadn’t spoken much about city issues and hadn’t developed positions on major policy matters. A major hurdle was her San Diego City Council vote in 1996 to begin underfunding the pension system, which helped lead to the city’s still unresolved pension and budget crisis.
Kehoe will be termed out in the state Senate in 2012.