The move to the middle is no longer about some on the right moving in that direction. It’s now about a lifelong died-in-the-wool Democrat like Bob Filner going there. He’s learned that running as a left-winger in a hugely partisan Congressional district is a world (and city) much different than the retail politics of a mayoral contest.
Now it’s becoming clear to what extent Filner will appear to move right to become San Diego’s chief retailer.
Filner says Prop B is okay … well, at least some of it. Nathan Fletcher is okay … well, at least since he’s no longer a Republican. A “Republican leaning” political consultant is okay too … well, as long as he’s known as a moderate and can help get him elected.
Two days ago, Brian Brady wrote here on Rostra, “Watch Tom Shepard, Fletcher’s campaign consultant. In the past seven days, he’s linked three stories on his Facebook wall: one about the ‘decline of the California Republican Party,’ one about Carl DeMaio’s ‘flip-flops,’ and one about San Jose and San Diego being ‘islands of sanity’ for voting for pension reform. Shepard is telling us the message the Filner/Fletcher campaign intends to use.”
Shepard is putting forth the Filner message, it seems, because he is likely to be its crafter. With Filner openly courting Fletcher’s endorsement, as well as making him a job offer in a Filner administration, some of the buzz in recent days has been about what Nathan will do. But, as of now, the buzz has turned to Shepard.
Frankly, it’s the worst kept secret in San Diego, at least among political watchers. The news will break, maybe by tonight, that longtime campaign strategist Shepard is joining the Filner for Mayor team. (Oh, in actuality, it won’t break anywhere else, because it just broke here, although others may call it breaking when they run it.)
The word in political circles initially was that Filner would make the announcement today. That plan may have been sidetracked by the need to deal with financial disclosures showing Filner raised only $29,000 in June — a press release ultimately went out placing the blame for the pittance on Carl DeMaio, instead of on his own efforts.
The other news, when announced, will be less about Shepard’s move left as it will be about Filner trying by appearance to move to the center by picking up a successful strategist who has — among many other candidates and issues — consulted every sitting member of the all Republican County Board of Supervisors.
Is it a game changer? No. Does it make things more intriguing? Yes, especially to the extent anti-DeMaio forces will fawn over the move as if Filner has somehow become mainstream.
For a primer on Filner’s beliefs, one only need look at his long voting record. Even Tom Shepard can’t change that background.