On Broadway outside Horton Plaza in downtown San Diego on Wednesday morning, independent Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher formally conceded the mayor’s race.
Dressed in jeans and a white, button-down shirt, Fletcher began a speech and interview session with reporters by saying that he had telephoned the two victors, Republican City Councilman Carl DeMaio and Democratic Congressman Bob Filner, to congratulate them earlier in the day.
DeMaio finished with 32.1 percent of the vote and Filner received 30.1 percent. Fletcher took third with 24 percent and Republican District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis finished fourth with 13.1 percent.
Tuesday night, Fletcher appeared before supporters at 10:30 to ask them to wait the results out, but the distance between him and Filner only grew after that.
When the race began one year ago, we deemed Fletcher the most likely candidate to soar or flop. DeMaio, Filner and Dumanis all had more natural constituencies. As the race wore on, though, it was clear that Fletcher was soaring. He made the race’s biggest move when he shed the Republican Party to become an independent in March and turned the election into a three-way contest with DeMaio and Filner. But he faltered in part due to persistent attacks from his opponents, a partisan primary electorate and the lack of a second act after the independence move.
Still, Fletcher maintained Wednesday that he had run the race’s best campaign.
“Go back to when we announced,” Fletcher said. “People said he won’t raise any money, he won’t have any support. The builders and the far right are with Carl. Labor’s with Bob. And Dumanis has got this Kolender-Sanders establishment. There’s nothing left. Then you go look at the thousands of donors, the thousands of donors. We outraised every candidate. Any metric you want to look at, we ran a great campaign.”
Fletcher added that he gave the race everything he could.
“I got up every single morning,” he said. “Early. And I went all in every single day. Every single day, I gave it everything I had to lay out a vision for the city, to talk about the type of mayor that I would be, the approach I would bring. Not only in tone and temperament and leadership, but we put out specific policy ideas on things I would focus on and the direction I would take our city.”
And as far as answers about his future, the 35-year-old didn’t have many.
He wasn’t trying to create a national movement of independents. As far as endorsing DeMaio or Filner, Fletcher didn’t say. (Filner said on Wednesday that he would seek Fletcher’s endorsement, and the two had a bit of a bromance on the campaign trail. But Filner and Fletcher’s policy views are far apart.) Fletcher did say he would finish out his term in the assembly, but had more immediate plans first.
“I’m going surfing,” he said. “Beyond that I don’t know.”
Liam Dillon is a news reporter for Voice of San Diego. He covers San Diego City Hall, the 2012 mayor’s race and big building projects. What should he write about next?
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