San Diego mayoral candidates Carl DeMaio and Bob Filner have had more than 20 debates scheduled between Labor Day and Election Day on Nov. 6. If you attend any of them, you’ll likely see both of the candidates talking differently than they did in the more partisan-tinged primary.

KPBS invited me on the radio last Friday to discuss the race and we focused on their debate performances. I explained why Filner seems to be frustrating DeMaio:

Bob is a very smart guy. He’s a doctorate, history of science, he’s very good at laying out a very broad vision, he’s very aggressive.

But he also operates in a realm where facts and details don’t really matter to him, right? And when you’re debating someone who doesn’t care if what they’re saying is true, it’s really hard to win an argument.

On several occasions, Filner has thrown out information without much regard for accuracy. His responses on port issues, claims about attendance at State of the City speeches and DeMaio’s involvement in a pension legal case provide good examples. The broad thrust of what he’s try to say might be correct — he thinks the port should be expanded, the mayor should talk about Mexico more and DeMaio has a particular interest in pension legalities — but the actual facts and details of his statements were wrong.

To be clear, my point isn’t that Filner actively tries to misrepresent things, though sometimes both he and DeMaio have done that. It’s that in general Filner seems not to care if his details are right.

I also spoke about DeMaio’s changing rhetoric from the primary to the general election on KPBS television:

YouTube video

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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