SD Rostra

Bonnie Brings her A-game to Mayor’s Race

Politics & Media Mashup

Bonnie Dumanis brought her A-game to the San Diego Mayor’s Race this week.

The District Attorney and mayoral candidate smacked Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, who is campaigning hard to be San Diego’s next mayor, for what she called his “About Face on a Woman’s Right to Choose” in a post on Rostra:

Until now, Nathan Fletcher has received a failing grade from Planned Parenthood which gave him a “zero” rating based directly on his voting record. In a seismic shift, Fletcher has apparently had yet another ‘change of heart’ and conveniently claims to be pro-choice. Fletcher’s new position on these issues has now changed Planned Parenthood’s rating of him from 0 percent to 100 percent.

“This is Nathan Fletcher’s latest abandonment of his core principles in the name of political expediency. The right of women to make their own reproductive choices is not a political game,” said Dumanis campaign spokeswoman Jennifer Tierney.


As it often does, Fletcher’s campaign quickly responded.

“It is uncharacteristic for Bonnie to launch desperate attacks. It’s the unfortunate result of a campaign with no message or money. Nathan was rated as 100% pro-choice by Planned Parenthood. Past procedural votes have been misconstrued by some, but Nathan’s position is clear. He is pro-choice,” said Amy Thoma, Fletcher’s deputy campaign chair.

When pressed on Twitter, including with tweets linking to the 2009 Planned Parenthood scorecard labeling Fletcher as anti-choice, Thoma said Fletcher has always been pro-choice.

That didn’t sit well with the Dumanis campaign, which posted a response late Friday on Rostra from campaign consultant Jennifer Tierney:

“If Nathan Fletcher has always been pro-choice he has a funny way of showing it,” she said. “Fletcher’s pro-choice claim is not supported by his record, his actions, or the facts. He says his votes have been misconstrued.  Why won’t he tell us how they were misconstrued and why he voted the way he did?

“Even if Nathan Fletcher was actually pro-choice as he claims, why has he been silent on this issue until now? Why didn’t he fill out the Planned Parenthood questionnaire during his Assembly races?”

Blog post coming from Team Fletcher in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1….

The Dumanis campaign released its first TV commercial this week, and it’s a good one.

She steals the show. The 30-second spots starts by ticking off some of her successes as District Attorney. Then it cuts to her. She looks into the camera, smiles and asks: “When was the last time you saw the other guys do that?”

Craig Gustafson, who is covering the mayor’s race for U-T San Diego, tweeted that it’s the best commercial he’s seen so far from the candidates. I agree.

A very good week for a campaign that has been criticized for starting slow and running on a message (Bonnie’s experience) that’s less than exciting.

Speaking of mayoral ads…The Carl DeMaio Mayoral Campaign dropped a mail piece this week attacking Fletcher, and misspelling his name. DeMaio also has targeted Fletcher at debates recently.

This leads me to believe Carl’s internal polling shows Nathan is gaining ground and would be difficult to beat head-to-head in November. With the June 5 primary a month away, Team DeMaio’s strategy appears to be: Block Fetcher Now!

The U-T will enlighten us Sunday when it publishes a new mayoral poll. It should help answer some questions: How much has Nathan’s needle moved? How far has Congressman Bob Filner fallen? Has Carl peaked? Is Bonnie within striking distance?

Lastly, the U-T is on record as saying Nathan isn’t Republican enough. He pushed back this week when he released a recording of his interview with the U-T editorial board.

“What I said is that I’m rejecting the partisan environment of today,” he told the newspaper shortly after ditching the Republican Party and registering as an independent. “There’s not one position of mine that’s changed. There’s not one issue that’s changed. There’s not one principle that’s changed. The only thing that’s changed is the party label.”

Jess Durfee, Chairman of the local Democratic Party, said this week Nathan is “about as ‘independent’ as his buddy Karl Rove.” 

So who’s right: The U-T or Durfee?

Nathan is right to say he would put the taxpayer first if elected and work with both sides to improve San Diego. Leaders have to build consensus at times.

The critics, including the U-T, also are right to question who he is and who he will be if elected.

I’ve said before that I believe his decision to drop the GOP was more about his desire to become mayor than his distaste for partisan politics. He was at or near the bottom of most polls. Half the city had no idea who he was. He had to change that in order to have a shot at winning.

As for the Karl Rove comparison…Seriously? Fletcher’s policy positions align far more with the right than the left, but he’s no Karl Rove. If he were, the party’s endorsement would have went to him and not Carl DeMaio.


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Tony Manolatos is a communications strategist. You can follow him on Twitter or LinkedInYou can hear Tony talk politics and media with KOGO’s LaDona Harvey every Friday at 2:35 p.m. on AM 600 and FM 95.7.
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