Mandate earned. Mandate ignored?

Barry Jantz Barry Jantz


Pop Quiz:  What candidate received the most votes ever in a single City of San Diego election?

Poli-hacks will no doubt mull that one based on a myriad of details, such as growth over time in population (and thus voters), turnout, popularity of the candidate, and whether it was during a primary with multiple candidates or, say, a two-candidate runoff during a presidential general election, etc., etc.

So, what do you think?  Bob Filner?  Jerry Sanders?  Susan Golding, perhaps?  Pete Wilson, or was the pool of voters too small back then as compared to today?

In his November 2008 runoff election against the incumbent city attorney, Jan Goldsmith gained more votes — nearly 279,000 — than a contender in any City Of San Diego election in history.  That includes mayor, city attorney and city council.  More than Filner, Sanders, Golding and Wilson.  More than anyone ever received.

By comparison, new Mayor Filner locked up over 245,000 votes last November.

With all due wonkish respect to some of the differences in election scenarios and population changes mentioned above, Goldsmith’s 2008 record is notable in that his victory was against an incumbent, unlike many other high profile runoff elections in which two candidates have vied for an open seat.

Although it largely hasn’t been noted as such by local media, Goldsmith received a mandate in the City of San Diego.

Forward to last June, when City Attorney Goldsmith then ran unopposed.  With no challengers, voters could have simply declined to vote for the office.  Yet, instead of taking a pass, they gave Goldsmith more votes than anyone ever received previously in a City of San Diego primary contest.  More than others who have run unopposed.  Again, more than anyone ever received.

Maybe more significant than Goldsmith’s 2012 vote total, was the lack of opposition itself, especially given the city’s history of high level pitched battles between business and labor interests.  After all, Goldsmith did achieve these election standards as a Republican in a city with a substantial Democratic edge in registration.

Some may accuse me of gushing.  Whatever.  Homage to Goldsmith is not the point.

Yet, many in the local media seem so enamored with self-anointed “stars” — or those in the past calling daily press conferences to bluster and accuse everyone else of corruption — they largely ignore arguably the most successful local candidate in San Diego history.  Did any media entity (other than a blog!) note a word of Goldsmith’s speech from his December swearing-in ceremony?  There hasn’t been much detail on the city attorney beyond the regular work of Liam Dillon and others at Voice of San Diego or Tony Manolatos’ SD Rostra interview of Goldsmith last May.

Maybe he doesn’t bluster enough.

But, obviously the voters somehow got it.  Jan Goldsmith has earned a mandate and it would be nice to hear his take on it.

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City of San Diego historical vote tallies

Update 3:45 pm: After my initial post, Ricky Young noted the UT San Diego did provide video of Goldsmith’s December inauguration speech online in it’s entirety.  Since it wasn’t in the print edition, I missed it.  Thanks to Young for the information.