Nathan Fletcher’s seemingly astute move in divorcing himself from the Republican Party in regard to his quest to become San Diego’s mayor looks like the famed Spassky-Fischer chess match of a generation ago. Candidates will rise and fall by virtue of their respective number of foot soldiers. Former Democratic mayor Maureen O’Connor had legions of die-hard partisans which overcame her deficit in demographics.

For both mayoral candidate Bob Filner and Fletcher, the Maginot Line is Interstate 8. It remains clearly a north-south fight. The northern reaches of our fine city are considered right of center, with a loosely knit coalition of strange bedfellows in the Filner camp being a high concentration of Jewish voters together with large numbers of Iranian ex-patriots. There also exist some die-hard environmentalists, transplanted Midwestern Democrats, a minimal number of organized labor advocates and those in education. The problem as I see it for Filner is the potential for straight-away Democrats to cross over, being that there is considerable appeal to the candidacy of an independent north of Interstate 8. See you in the Ardennes.

Daniel Smiechowski lives in Bay Ho.

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