History suggests Fletcher in trouble in San Diego mayoral special election

History suggests Fletcher in trouble in San Diego mayoral special election

nfmfThe Tuesday night decision by members of San Diego’s Democratic Party central committee to endorse City Councilman David Alvarez over Republican assemblyman-turned-independent-turned-Democrat Nathan Fletcher appears to substantially improve the chances that the Nov. 19 mayoral special election to replace departed pervert Bob Filner will have echoes of the city’s June 2012 mayoral primary.

In that vote, Republican-endorsed City Councilman Carl DeMaio narrowly edged Democrat-endorsed congressman Filner, while then-independent assemblyman Fletcher finished a fairly close but not that close third. So it was DeMaio vs. Filner in the November runoff, which Filner narrowly won, helped by coattails from President Obama’s spectacularly successful voter-microtargeting campaign.

Here are the June 2012 results:

 Carl DeMaio 55,120 32%
 Bob Filner 51,680 30%
 Nathan Fletcher 41,157 24%
 Bonnie Dumanis 22,488 13%

Faulconer doesn’t have DeMaio’s downsides

In a special election, even more so than in a primary election, voters are usually partisan die-hards. So if Fletcher couldn’t finish in the top two in a primary election with two credible Republicans (DeMaio and DA Bonnie Dumanies) and one credible Democratic opponent (Filner), how likely is the newly minted Democrat to make the runoff in a special election against one credible Republican (City Councilman Kevin Faulconer) and two credible Democrats (Alvarez and former City Attorney Mike Aguirre)?

There will be those who say Fletcher, a polished, handsome war veteran with wealthy backers, is a much stronger candidate than the low-key Faulconer or Alvarez, a 33-year-old who has had an unremarkable stint on the City Council.

But Faulconer has far fewer hard edges than DeMaio. And while this shouldn’t matter, it probably does: Unlike DeMaio, Faulconer isn’t gay. He’s a poster-child hetero family man.

And Alvarez has not just pretty strong union support but this ethnic-pride element going for him: He has a solid chance to be heavily Latino San Diego’s first Latino mayor.

Will that doom Fletcher? Perhaps. Maybe political science and karma will be on the same page, for once.

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