San Diego mayoral race: The case for Kevin Faulconer – UnityOnline Only, Top Highlights, Around the City, Politically Aware Tuesday, October 8th, 2013
Becoming the next mayor of San Diego requires two things: making it to the general election and winning it. The best argument for Councilmember Kevin Faulconer becoming the next mayor is that he has step one pretty well sewn up. He owes it to party unity.
Voice of San Diego has reported the back room conversations involved in choosing the Republican mayoral nominee. Whatever you think of the process, it mixed with former Councilmember Carl DeMaio’s deferral to generate a single major candidate around whom the party could rally. The same cannot be said for the Democrats.
That gives Faulconer a clear leg up. In the 2012 primary, Republicans DeMaio and District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis combined for 45 percent of the vote, close to the 47.5 percent DeMaio won in the general. Faulconer may not hit those numbers in the primary, as he doesn’t yet appear to generate DeMaio’s enthusiasm and may lose moderate votes to Fletcher. Even 40 percent would likely carry him to the general in first place, however, given the likely split of the Democratic vote between former Assemblymember Nathan Fletcher and Councilmember David Alvarez.
Not having an intra-party fight also allows Faulconer to better prepare for the general election. If his polling improves with increased name recognition alone, he could choose to save his attack money. Should he decide to run negative ads in the primary, he could help whomever he perceives to be the weaker general election opponent. Meanwhile, any deal to “attack Faulconer, not each other” will likely dissolve when it’s clear there is only one Democratic ticket to the general.
Speaking of money, Faulconer figures to have plenty. He leads the inewsource.org database of $1,000 donors, and the party and business interests figure to spend on his behalf, though they are not listed yet. (It’s worth noting that Alvarez has surged into the money lead since the database has added independent committees.)
Faulconer also wins the experience battle. Fletcher supporters who question the gravitas gained by Alvarez in three years on City Council seem to forget that Fletcher spent only four years in the Assembly. Faulconer’s seven years on Council make him an elder statesman by comparison.
If money and experience can’t carry Faulconer to victory to the general, the numbers might. Starting with DeMaio’s 47.5 percent and adjusting for DeMaio’s negatives and Filner’s negatives and positives probably leaves Faulconer at – 47.5 percent. Fortunately for him, an off year special election should bring out a more conservative electorate. In November 2013, DeMaio might have beaten Filner. After a potentially bruising Democratic primary, Faulconer may have an even better chance against Fletcher or Alvarez.
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