Over the past few weeks, as it became clear that San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria had not yet attracted a prominent opponent to his re-election campaign, U.S. Rep. Scott Peters has fielded calls from some San Diego leaders trying to draft him to run.
MaryAnne Pintar, Peters’ longtime aide, acknowledged to the Politics Report that the calls had come. But Peters was sticking with his endorsement and support of Gloria.
“He is not interested in running at this time. But 2028 may be a different story,” Pintar said. She made sure we knew and reported that Peters supported the mayor’s re-election.
So why didn’t Gloria attract a prominent opponent? Yes, Larry Turner, a police officer who will be raising money this weekend in Sunset Cliffs is running and certainly could make an impact on the race. But it won’t be easy or cheap and he has almost no name recognition.
The short answer, I’m sure, from the mayor’s camp is that he’s just so great that nobody even wants to run against him and few people would support anyone who did.
But it is more interesting and complicated than that.
Homelessness remains an intractable crisis for the city that, despite years of mobilization on the topic continues to worsen. Former supporter, basketball legend Bill Walton, has endorsed Turner and takes any and all opportunities to bash the mayor and support critics. The police officers union clearly is still upset with the mayor and many believe he has not taken a hard enough stand on homeless individuals.
On the other hand, many advocates believe he’s been too cruel.
There are obvious and significant tensions between the mayor and prominent City Councilmembers, including Council President Sean Elo-Rivera and Monica Montgomery Steppe, who is running for county supervisor. Both have been mentioned as potentially interested in the mayor’s office but have not pulled the trigger.
And there are larger problems, arguably outside the mayor’s purview, like the cost of living, electricity rates and water rates that he is taking heat on.
How has none of this resulted in a major campaign against him?
I surveyed a few people on the left and the right about what was going on. Here are the three reasons I have come up with why no major candidate has stepped up, or likely will, to run against the mayor.
1) Major donors are supportive or apathetic. Many have complaints about the mayor but they aren’t working hard to recruit an alternative and seem content to let him continue. A candidate, even a personally wealthy one like Peters, would want and need big donors to help make the case against Gloria. The first rule of ousting an incumbent is proving they don’t deserve re-election. Then you have to sell yourself as the perfect alternative. In a large city, that would take at least $2 million.
2) The mayor has made the job look miserable and difficult. Somehow the impression has shifted and many now consider the role of county supervisor to offer more opportunities for leadership and resource allocation. In short, it’s become less cool to be mayor and more cool to be a county supervisor. Obviously, former Supervisor Nathan Fletcher had something to do with that, despite his ignominious downfall. But as indefatigable as Gloria is, the job does seem to be wearing on him. His staff always talks about how hard it is. And the problems really are enormous with no easy answers.
3) Who are the leaders waiting on the bench to come in? There don’t appear to be many. The only reasonable response to the above point about how hard the job is is that someone needs to step up who has vision for the city – someone who can lead people to a place they would not go themselves. Who is that right now? Is there literally anyone ready to dedicate themselves to public service who has a vision for the city and the ability and willingness to rally people to help them achieve it? Obviously not.
Fletcher accuser must release content: Superior Court Judge Matthew Braner Friday ordered Grecia Figueroa and her attorneys to turn over all communication and social media messages along with any photos, videos and voice recordings Figueroa has of her interactions with former County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher.
Her attorneys had resisted the subpoenas as too broad and potentially including irrelevant personal information. The judge disagreed.
“The requests seek relevant and discoverable documents; indeed such documents are repeatedly referenced throughout Plaintiff’s complaint and go to the very core of her claims against Defendant, and Defendant’s potential defenses to those claims,” Braner had written in his tentative ruling.
This does not include subpoenas to Meta, the company that includes Instagram, where Figueroa and Fletcher exchanged many messages.
The future of the Republican Party of SD: Appears to be largely similar to the past. Jordan Gascon, the executive director of the local party, a paid staff member, has announced he’ll be leaving after the 2024 election cycle, which still has a year to go. He had been rumored to be interested in the chairmanship of the party but Paula Whitsell, the chairwoman, recently announced she would be running again for that role.
If you have any feedback or ideas for the Politics Report, send them to email@example.com. (By the way, Tidal Wave 10U won the Halloween Havoc softball tournament last weekend. No big deal.)