Councilman Kevin Faulconer is running for Mayor of San Diego, not to eliminate Nathan Fletcher. Let’s let that sink in.
Faulconer earned 43.6% of the vote (with 99% counted). Those results are unofficial. It looks like Councilman David Alvarez will face Faulconer in the run off as, at the time I am writing this, he has a comfortable enough lead over Fletcher. Many Republicans are rejoicing that Fletcher lost rather than figuring out just how hard the run off may be.
I think that is a mistake. The election should be about winning back City Hall rather than exacting vengeance against someone who switched political parties. This campaign was a nasty one with a lot of negative campaigning against Fletcher. I get it– it had to be done. Many Republican voters didn’t know about Fletcher switching parties nor his “flexible” principles. Still, I know more than a few Republican and right-leaning, Independent voters who cast their ballot for Fletcher. Faulconer will need those votes to win this election.
I don’t underestimate that San Diego has a Democratic registration advantage, that more money was donated to Alvarez and Fletcher than Faulconer, that Big Labor can provide Alvarez with a ground game (and money), and that the Democrats will unify behind one candidate in the run-off. That presents a mathematics problem from where I sit today.
I don’t want to take anything away from Kevin Faulconer’s campaign. Kevin did a good job of staying on message, not getting dragged down into the mud, and highlighting his experience and steady leadership. The run off election however, will be painted as a David v Goliath contest and David Alvarez plays a pretty good David. Alvarez is smart, likeable, principled, and (in my opinion) wrong on just about every policy issue.
Voters don’t vote AGAINST people as much as they vote FOR candidates. Kevin should run FOR Mayor of San Diego and his supporters would do well to communicate why Kevin is the better man for the job. Beating up on a David is one way to get a rock hurled at you.
Let’s keep our eye on the prize.