With the recent deal approved by the City Council, San Diegans will once again have a special election to replace our disgraced mayor. The short time-frame of the election will inevitably result in a very low turnout, even with all the media attention related to the Bob Filner scandal. In elections of this nature, only someone with organization, funding and/or party backing has any real shot to win.
As has been mentioned in some recent articles, recent mayoral candidate Nathan Fletcher has already signaled he may run again– as a Republican, Democrat or independent, I can’t say. Congressional candidate Carl DeMaio and Councilman Kevin Faulconer are getting the most attention in GOP circles and Council President Todd Gloria is being talked up on the left.
Given the role Faulconer and Gloria played in gaining Filner’s resignation, it would be easy to call their decision on the deal opportunistic and assume a certain level of taint on their potential campaigns. But these are exactly the two men that should be running to lead our city. I expect DeMaio to stay in his congressional race to take out rookie Rep. Scott Peters. City Attorney Goldsmith will likely continue where he is and look for the next opportunity in a regular election.
Gloria and Faulconer garnered the spotlight and presented a united front for San Diego to the local and national media throughout the Filner debacle. Additionally, they have demonstrated an ability to work together respectfully, despite differing party affiliations, throughout their time on the council. This unique relationship would provide the best storyline going forward in an election. The question will be how they handle the conversation that needs to be had in this city.
Will Faulconer and Gloria have a dignified dialogue about their views on policy issues and discuss their visions for San Diego’s future? Or will they descend into a left-versus-right campaign fueled by attacks on character and personal affiliations? Having had an opportunity to work with both of these men, I believe the former will be the case and it could provide a great opportunity to show how a discussion of different ideas can be had in an election without having an argument.
The only wrench in this potentially tide-turning moment in San Diego’s political climate is Fletcher – third-place finisher last year and possibly the most determined candidate who has ever run for any office. Willing to shed his lifetime of GOP service in a moment, try his best to be an independent and, more recently, join the Democrats and begin courting its leaders in hopes of becoming their new face. The man will do, say and quite literally be anything you ask in order to become mayor and further his political career.
My hope is that San Diegans will ignore Fletcher’s undeniable charisma, charm and good looks, and focus on the conversation Faulconer and Gloria should be having.