Bonnie Dumanis’ big dilemmaEditorial, Top Highlights Thursday, April 26th, 2012
The political landscape in the San Diego mayor’s race has changed dramatically. Recent polls show City Councilman Carl DeMaio and Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher in a virtual dead heat. Republican DeMaio is at 28 percent, with Independent Fletcher close behind at 26 percent, and Democrat Congressman Bob Filner bringing up the flank with 20 percent. Republican District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis is polling at 13 percent.
As a veteran of several political campaigns, a month out from actual voting is the perfect time to read the political tea leaves and they say that Bonnie Dumanis has a dilemma.
While many thought the mayoral race would be a cakewalk for Dumanis, nothing has been further from the truth. The Republican Party ultimately endorsed her rival DeMaio. Her rival Fletcher captured the endorsement of the Police Officer’s Association, then became an Independent and captured those who seem frustrated with our two party system. Filner has set his sights on getting through the primary by being the only Democrat.
Dumanis is the top law enforcement officer in the county but the police and her party are not supporting her. She has been clearly outflanked by her competitors. So why is Dumanis remaining in the race?
She says, “The polls are all over the place right now and show that all candidates are at different levels, different times, depending on the questions that you ask.” Dumanis also said that the same polling company had her down 22 percent one week before she was elected district attorney. That may have been true in her previous race but there is no indication that there is any Dumanis momentum in the mayoral race.
Dumanis would have to win the majority of the 10 percent who are undecided and peel off support from DeMaio, Fletcher and Filner to get to the runoff in November. This scenario is highly unlikely, unless one of her competitors implodes.
Bonnie Dumanis has a couple of dilemmas. If she stays in the race through the June 5 primary and loses, Dumanis will have a target on her back in her next race for district attorney. She will be viewed as a weak candidate and people will line up to oppose her. Of course the same is true if she drops out early.
Dumanis’ additional dilemma is who she will support if she drops out or loses June 5. If she supports DeMaio, the majority of the LGBT community and progressives will view it as a betrayal. DeMaio does not have a lot of support within his LGBT community or with progressives.
If Dumanis throws her support behind Fletcher or Filner, or doesn’t endorse DeMaio, she becomes a pariah in the Republican Party. A dilemma indeed.
There is only one person who wants Dumanis to stay in the race until June 5 and that is Carl DeMaio. Dumanis’ supporters would most likely become supporters of Fletcher or Filner, which could leave DeMaio out in the cold come the June primary.
Given all of these complex choices, will Dumanis stay or will she go? What will Bonnie do?
San Diego LGBT Weekly
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