SAN DIEGO - As Bob Filner spends his next-to-last day in office, 13 people Thursday were preparing their campaigns to be San Diego's next mayor.
A Nov. 19 special election to replace Filner, whose scandal-driven resignation becomes official at 5 p.m. Friday, is expected to cost the city as much as $6.2 million. The high multi-million-dollar price tag could force city leaders to tap reserves or make budget cuts in order to pay for it.
The cost would soar even higher if no one candidate from the special election garners more than 50 percent of the vote because that would prompt a runoff election between the top two vote-getters, City Clerk Liz Maland said.
The city only has $1.8 million set aside for elections in its current $1.2 billion operating budget, U-T San Diego reported.
Filner agreed to resign amid accusations that he sexually harassed 19 women, including his former communications aide, who is suing both the mayor and the city for damages. Though he agreed to step down, Filner continues to deny that his actions constitute sexual harassment. He has, however, apologized for mistreating women and sought behavioral therapy.
Filner took office in December and has three years left in office. Under San Diego's charter, a special election is required no matter the cost because the City Council can appoint a successor only if the outgoing official has less than a year left on his term.
As of late Wednesday, 13 people had filed paperwork with the City Clerk's Office stating their intention to run in the special election to replace Filner, including ex-Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher. Now an executive with Qualcomm, he finished third in the June 2012 mayoral primary.
Also joining the field was Bruce Coons, head of the Save Our Heritage Organization, a preservationist group that sued to stop a plan by Filner's predecessor, Jerry Sanders, and Qualcomm founder Irwin Jacobs to build a bypass bridge to route cars away from the center of Balboa Park.
Other candidates who have filed intention forms are lawyer and frequent speaker at City Council meetings Hud Collins; Paul Michael Dekker, who, according to his website, is director of information technology at the San Diego-based nonprofit Global Energy Network Institute; La Jolla realtor Harry
J. Dirks; Michael Kemmer, whose LinkedIn page says he's an IT intern at Sempra Energy; Jared Mimms, who says on his LinkedIn page that he has founded or co-founded four companies; accountant Teresa Miucci, psychiatrist Ashok Parameswaran; website owner Tobiah Pettus; Kurt Schwab, who founded an organization for veterans of Afghanistan and Iraq; Mark Schwartz, a Libertarian activist who created a Facebook page for his campaign last month; and David Tasem, who operates a taxicab business.
Carl DeMaio, the former councilman who lost a close race with Filner in last November's runoff election, said he will talk to supporters over the upcoming holiday weekend before deciding whether to enter the race.
Other names making rounds as potential candidates include Councilmen David Alvarez, Kevin Faulconer and Todd Gloria, Councilwoman Marti Emerald, Supervisor Ron Roberts and former Assemblywoman Lori Saldana, D-San Diego.