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Nationally syndicated talk-show host Roger Hedgecock wrote a scathing op-ed in the U-T San Diego on Thursday ripping Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum.

Santorum, Hedgecock wrote, shouldn’t be a serious candidate because he doesn’t have any executive experience. Instead, Santorum served two terms as a Pennsylvania senator. In short, Hedgecock said, legislators stink:

Members of a legislature do not make good candidates for an executive position whether you’re talking about mayor, governor or president. Legislators opine endlessly on what ought to be done without fear of the consequences, without having to live with or administer the laws they pass. Like professors, legislators tend to prattle on regarding any subject, untethered to the real world.

Hedgecock’s opinion caught my eye because of a big, local endorsement he’s made. The former San Diego mayor is one of City Councilman Carl DeMaio’s highest-profile supporters in DeMaio’s own mayoral bid. And DeMaio is a legislator. Persistent criticism of DeMaio mirrors Hedgecock’s take on legislators: DeMaio throws bombs with little regard for the fallout.

I asked Hedgecock about his support for DeMaio in light of his take on legislators as Hedgecock awaited the start of the Republican presidential debate in South Carolina Thursday night.

“Gotcha question,” Hedgecock replied. “I love it.”

Hedgecock said DeMaio has lots of executive experience in the private sector, citing his time running two government consulting companies before he became a politician. That makes DeMaio plenty qualified, he said.

“He was sought after by other governments to solve the same municipal problems that he’s willing to address in San Diego on a mayor’s salary,” Hedgecock said.

Hedgecock’s take on legislators also led me to ask about someone else with legislative experience before he became a mayor: Hedgecock himself.

“That’s a good one, too,” Hedgecock said.

Hedgecock served on the San Diego County Board of Supervisors for eight years before he was elected mayor in 1983. Hedgecock resigned 2 1/2 years later amid a campaign finance scandal.

He joked that his opinion of legislators might apply to him, too.

“Maybe that’s the reason I was not mayor for very long,” Hedgecock said.

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.

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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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