Former San Diego City Councilwoman Donna Frye has definitively ruled out a run for mayor in 2012 and endorsed Democratic candidate Bob Filner.

Frye, a Democrat who failed twice to win the city’s top job, wasn’t expected to try for a third time. But she has a history of last-minute candidacies and, in previous statements, had left the door open to a potential bid. Now, the door is closed.

“I am not running for mayor,” she said in an email to me.

Instead, Frye said she will endorse Filner, a congressman and the lone major Democrat in the race.

Filner wants Frye to handle open government issues, one of her pet concerns when she was in office.

“My first appointment as mayor that we’ll announce when she endorses me is that she’s going to be the ombudswoman for San Diego,” Filner said at a candidate forum in Clairemont Thursday night. “That is, someone who is looking out after the public and the neighborhood interests for transparency and openness and power in the government.”

Subscribe to the Morning Report.

Frye said she has spoken with Filner about the “city’s ongoing culture of secrecy,” something she said has increased after San Diegans voted to put the mayor in charge of the city bureaucracy.

“[I]t became clear that obtaining information, even about the simplest things, was going to be more difficult and time consuming,” Frye said. “That needs to change.”

Frye’s conclusive exit from the mayoral stage and her endorsement of Filner provides a big boost to his candidacy.

In a race that features three big-name Republican candidates, Filner has said his party affiliation alone would allow him to reach November’s general election.

But Filner has yet to unify Democrats decisively behind him. Frye’s backing gives him the support of one of the city’s most well-known Democrats and likely clears the field of any potential challenge from the left.

Liam Dillon is a news reporter for He covers San Diego City Hall, the 2012 mayor’s race and big building projects. What should he write about next?

Please contact him directly at or 619.550.5663.

Like VOSD on Facebook.

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...

Leave a comment

We expect all commenters to be constructive and civil. We reserve the right to delete comments without explanation. You are welcome to flag comments to us. You are welcome to submit an opinion piece for our editors to review.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.