GOP senator may challenge incumbent GOP supervisor

Joel_AndersonAfter winning re-election three months ago with 69 percent of the vote, state Sen. Joel Anderson, R-Alpine, knows he is termed out in 2018 and that there are a finite number of significant elected positions that Republicans can win in San Diego County. This may be why it appears that Anderson in 2016 will take on GOP incumbent Dianne Jacob for the supervisor seat representing southeast San Diego County — a post she’s held since 1992.

Anderson has said little, but maneuvering by county GOP chairman Tony Krvaric and former state GOP chief Ron Nehring has made clear much is being done of his behalf. San Diego County Republicans took the unusual step of endorsing Anderson’s undeclared candidacy on Monday. This came after county supervisors voted to limit how much political parties could give in local campaigns, the plainest sign imaginable that the majority Republican board is at odds with Krvaric and Nehring and know what they are up to.

The Filner-DeMaio hangover

In conventional political circumstances, the San Diego GOP establishment’s attempt to oust a well-liked, generally conservative six-term incumbent would seem bizarre. Jacob has been a steady advocate of smart, restrained government and has been part of a long-standing GOP majority on the county board that has steered it to great credit ratings and to a better reputation for delivering services than is enjoyed by most of America’s other most populous counties.

diane jacobBut San Diego’s dynamics are not conventional. Krvaric and Nehring are not reticent at trying to throw their weight around, and they despise Jacob’s campaign manager for helping later-disgraced Democratic Congressman Bob Filner get elected mayor of San Diego in 2012. U-T San Diego politics editor Michael Smolens details this story behind the story:

The firm Revolvis has been the preferred agency by GOP leaders and that’s who many of their candidates hire.

The company certainly has been the choice of Republicans at City Hall, working for Mayor Kevin Faulconer and council members Chris Cate, Mark Kersey and Scott Sherman. Revolvis also consulted for an independent committee that supported Councilwoman Lorie Zapf. (Jason Cabel Roe at Revolvis said the company “won’t be involved in Joel’s race.”)

It’s a different story at the county. Supervisors Greg Cox, Bill Horn, Ron Roberts and Jacob — all Republicans — have relied on longtime San Diego consultant Tom Shepard, despite pressure from some party leaders to drop him.

Shepard was a political adviser to Republican Mayor Jerry Sanders, who clashed mightily with Councilman DeMaio. Shepard had worked to elect Fletcher mayor in 2012 and then shifted to Democrat Filner, further earning him the enmity of Krvaric and others GOP officials.

GOP maneuvering’s checkered record

But as Smolens points out, maneuvering by the county Republican establishment …

… hasn’t always worked out.

During the 2012 San Diego mayoral campaign, the party endorsed Councilman Carl DeMaio over Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, who also sought the endorsement and then later left the party to become an independent (and eventually a Democrat). DeMaio and Democrat Bob Filner knocked Fletcher out in the primary, but the Democrat went on to win in November.

Polls showed that Fletcher likely would have defeated either man in a runoff, possibly becoming mayor as a Republican had the party not endorsed DeMaio.

Also in the 2012 election, many GOP leaders lined up behind Steve Danon, a congressional aide who entered the race against longtime Republican Supervisor Pam Slater-Price in a North County district. Slater-Price decided against running for re-election, but Danon lost to Solana Beach Councilman Dave Roberts, who became the first Democrat on the Board of Supervisors in nearly a generation.

Given Jacob’s popularity and the impression that San Diego County conveys of being well-run — even though it is an impression that arguably isn’t merited — it is difficult to imagine her losing to Anderson. But that result wouldn’t be all bad for Anderson, who would still have two years left as a state senator.

Chris Reed

Chris Reed

Chris Reed is a regular contributor to Cal Watchdog. Reed is an editorial writer for U-T San Diego. Before joining the U-T in July 2005, he was the opinion-page columns editor and wrote the featured weekly Unspin column for The Orange County Register. Reed was on the national board of the Association of Opinion Page Editors from 2003-2005. From 2000 to 2005, Reed made more than 100 appearances as a featured news analyst on Los Angeles-area National Public Radio affiliate KPCC-FM. From 1990 to 1998, Reed was an editor, metro columnist and film critic at the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin in Ontario. Reed has a political science degree from the University of Hawaii (Hilo campus), where he edited the student newspaper, the Vulcan News, his senior year. He is on Twitter: @chrisreed99.

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