By many traditional metrics, San Diego City Council President Tony Young should have a simple choice in the mayoral election.

Young, a Democrat, shares a political party with Congressman Bob Filner. Their two districts overlap in the city’s southeastern neighborhoods. And voters in those neighborhoods, including Encanto and Chollas Park, were Filner’s base of support in last month’s primary.

Still, Young says that he’s holding out on deciding between Filner and his Republican counterpart, City Councilman Carl DeMaio. He wants to know who will deliver better for the communities he represents.

“It’s all about leverage and trying to get as many resources as I can for my district that traditionally hasn’t gotten as much,” Young said.

Young said K-12 education remains a key issue for him as does infrastructure, public safety and a plan for working with the City Council. In the primary, Young endorsed independent Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher’s education plan, but took great pains to say he wasn’t endorsing Fletcher’s candidacy. City Hall has no direct control over public education, but Young is part of a growing group who wants it to be more involved.

He added that he expected the local Democratic Party to pressure him to back Filner, but he hoped that withholding an endorsement will force the congressman and DeMaio to focus on the neighborhoods he represents.

“I’m not going to give my endorsement cheaply,” Young said. “And it’s definitely not going to be a partisan one.”

Lightner’s for Filner, Ellis Isn’t for Anyone

The city’s other election in November will be between incumbent Democrat Sherri Lightner and Republican businessman Ray Ellis in City Council’s District 1. Lightner didn’t endorse in the primary, but now has decided to back Filner.

“I’m supporting Bob Filner because he shares the same community-focused approach to government that I do,” Lightner said in a statement from her campaign manager.

Meanwhile, Ellis is surprisingly staying out of the race. His campaign manager, Matt Donnellan, said Ellis is just focusing on his election.

“He’s not planning to endorse in any other race,” Donnellan said.

Ellis gave a maximum $500 donation to DeMaio in the primary and contributed the same to Fletcher. The local Republican Party has branded Ellis, DeMaio, Mark Kersey and Scott Sherman as part of a team that would take over City Hall. Kersey and Sherman won their respective City Council elections’ outright in June and the Lightner/Ellis race will decide the council’s partisan balance.

For those keeping score at home, the council’s four existing and incoming Republicans back DeMaio and all of the council’s Democrats, save Young, support Filner.

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?

Please contact him directly at or 619.550.5663.

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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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