Donna is San Diego’s political rock star. She is John Lennon, Bruce Springsteen and Eminem rolled into one.
San Diego’s mayoral primary is a year away but it comes up just about every day. So please bear with me as I share a few thoughts. Let’s call it, “Early Impressions.”
Early Impression No. 1: Too many people have written off Donna Frye. Mistake. Big mistake. Huge. Donna is San Diego’s political rock star. She is John Lennon, Bruce Springsteen and Eminem rolled into one.
If she decides to run she is a game changer. She instantly becomes the front-runner. She has the best name-ID of the bunch.
For now, the front-runner is Carl DeMaio. This should come as no surprise. Carl has been on the campaign trail in one form or another for a while, he is a marketing machine and he is smart. His list of legislative achievements is thin and he is not the most likeable of the bunch, but he is addressing his shortcomings.
Early Impression No. 2: Carl has surrounded himself with bright people who are working just as hard as he is to promote Carl and shore up his weaknesses. There is a nice anecdote from Carl’s sister making the rounds, he is hosting picnics in the park and he has sent out at least one Facebook post about the Padres.
Bonnie Dumanis also has been impressive early on. She is not just picking up endorsements and cash from prominent Republicans. She is doing the very same thing in Democratic circles.
Early Impression No. 3: Bonnie has the momentum. If she maintains it, look out.
Everyone I talk to has good things to say about Nathan Fletcher. He is charismatic and likeable, they say. Most then flip the coin and talk about his lack of experience.
With his ties to Sacramento and Washington, Nathan is expected to be a formidable fundraiser. Money alone won’t be enough to move him in the polls. Chelsea’s Law is very impressive, but he needs to stand for something other than “new” and “education” in a crowded field.
Early Impression No. 4: I expect Nathan to pick up the support of the Police Officers Association if he opposes the pension reform ballot measure Mayor Jerry Sanders, Councilman Kevin Faulconer and DeMaio are sponsoring. That, obviously, would hurt his support with GOP-types.
Can Nathan snag the firefighter union, too? That would be huge, but I can’t see the firefighters passing on Dumanis AND Bob Filner.
I have never met Bob but I know quite a few people who know him. They tell me no one campaigns harder. Not even Carl? Not even Carl, they say. They also tell me Bob is a master at attacking his opponent’s most glaring weakness.
Early Impression No. 5: With his far-reaching community ties and built-in support, Bob could be the candidate who keeps Donna out of the race.
What if Christine Kehoe enters the race? Well, she is another well-known leader with a strong base who would need to be taken seriously.
As it stands, I see this as a 3-headed race: Carl, Bonnie and Bob. But it’s early. Really early. Stay tuned.