Faulconer jumps into race for mayor: Aguirre expected to formally announce bid

Gloria, DeMaio, Roberts to stay in sidelines

SAN DIEGO - San Diego City Councilman Kevin Faulconer announced Wednesday that his name will be on the ballot in the November special election to finish the mayoral term of Bob Filner, who resigned in disgrace after nine months as the city's chief executive.

"I stand with my fellow San Diegans and I'm ready to do my part to make sure San Diego's next chapter is our best yet," Faulconer said.

Team 10 was first to report Tuesday that after some old-fashioned, hardball politics, local Republicans chose to have Faulconer as their candidate in the mayoral race. Sources said that Faulconer already has a campaign staff.

Former City Attorney Mike Aguirre was also expected to make his run for mayor official. He revealed to Team 10 last week that he plans on joining the field of candidates for the November special election. Aguirre told Team 10 he will file the necessary paperwork Monday.

Aguirre, in an interview with 10News' media partner XETV, said he feels like he has unfinished business following his one term as city attorney. The city's resources are not being matched up with its needs, he said.

He said he ended up being a polarizing figure because the city was under investigation for securities fraud and council members were under indictment when he took over.

The "contentious" environment was made worse by the nature of the 2004 election, according to Aguirre. His victory wasn't decided for more than a week and the mayor's race ended up in court.

"I want to use the campaign to get people to know me a little better in hopes that they can see there's a little softer side than they had seen before," Aguirre said.

He is scheduled to file paperwork at the City Clerk's Office on Monday.

"We are pleased that Councilman Kevin Faulconer is considering running for Mayor," said county GOP Chairman Tony Krvaric. "He is a centrist leader in proud San Diego tradition with broad appeal and an established track record of service to our city. He would be a great mayor."

The representative of the city's beach areas and Point Loma is a vocal proponent of a competitive bidding program called "managed competition" to create a leaner city government and was a leading critic of the state abolishing redevelopment agencies.

"I stand with my fellow San Diegans and I'm ready to do my part to make sure San Diego's next chapter is our best yet," Faulconer said Wednesday.

"Together, we will restore integrity to City Hall," Faulconer added. "Together, we will put an end to the dysfunction and get our city working again for the taxpayers of San Diego."

Read Faulconer's full remarks HERE

He said returning trust to the mayor's office is one of the "greatest challenges facing our community."

If no other major candidates enter the race, he would be the primary conservative entrant against one-time Republican Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, who left the GOP during last year's mayoral campaign to become an independent. Months after finishing third in the June 2012 primary, he reregistered as a Democrat.

Fletcher submitted nominating papers at the San Diego County Clerk's Office Wednesday.

Last week, Fletcher -- now an executive at Qualcomm -- received endorsements from unions representing firefighters and municipal white collar workers. The former Marine released a video Tuesday in which he said one of his priorities will be giving hard-working residents an opportunity to buy their own home.

In remarks to reporters Wednesday, he said the race was coming down to whether San Diegans want status quo candidates or someone who represents the future.

"San Diegans are ready to move forward," Fletcher said. "I think we're tired of living in the past. This election really is about the candidate who represents the future, and that's what my candidacy stands for -- a break from the past, a break from a lot of the problems and issues."

Political analyst Carl Luna told 10News he believes Fletcher and Faulconer have things to overcome during their campaign.

"It all comes down to turnout," Luna said, explaining that Republicans usually have an advantage in low turnout elections. "But Mr. Fletcher's advantage is his independence and a mobilized Democratic base that's not going to want to lose the mayorship."

Since Fletcher ran for mayor last year, Luna said the former Assemblyman already has widespread name recognition.  

Faulconer has never run for a citywide office, so his name recognition may be limited to his city council district, according to Luna.

Luna agreed that Faulconer's high-profile involvement in negotiating Filner's exit may help him in that regard.

Luna explained that Faulconer might have an uphill battle because Democrats and Independents outnumber Republicans 2-to-1, and also because "he has 'another Republican from downtown' sort of an image, which may not resonate as well out in the districts where there's the idea of moving power away from the establishment."

Fletcher's biggest weakness may be his party-switching in a short period of time.

"Democrats have to choose between their hearts and their heads in this election. They won the mayorship the first time around Bob Filner. That didn't work out so well going with heart. Nathan Fletcher is maybe a more sure win, and I think at the end of the day, they want to win."

Luna predicted that if Aguirre follows through on his promise to enter the race, he will be a spoiler and may force the special election into a run-off in early 2014.

While a few other local political leaders are still mulling a run for mayor, including Aguirre, the field mostly cleared Tuesday when Interim Mayor Todd Gloria, ex-Councilman Carl DeMaio and Supervisor Ron Roberts all declined to enter the race.

"In the few days since I assumed the duties of mayor, it has become clear to me that the problems left by Bob Filner are substantial and serious," Gloria said. "The enormous task of cleaning up City Hall while ensuring District Three is represented requires me to lead a focused team effort that produces quick results for San Diego."

DeMaio said he would renew his attention on previously announced plans to challenge Rep. Scott Peters, D-San Diego, in a congressional race next year, while Supervisor Ron Roberts said he preferred to finish his term with the county.

DeMaio told reporters that his focus was on his agenda to reform government more than a particular office.

"Now I know that this decision may disappoint some of my supporters, though please recognize that our reform agenda is a team effort and is bigger than any one individual," said DeMaio, who narrowly lost to Filner in a runoff last November.

"I'm confident that we have several exceptional leaders in our city who possess the integrity and sincerity and consistency of position to carry forward our reform agenda as our next mayor," DeMaio said.

Runs by Gloria and DeMaio would have pitted two prominent and openly gay politicians against each other in the race to lead the nation's eighth largest city.

According to published reports, Councilman David Alvarez and former Assemblywoman Lori Saldana are still contemplating getting into the race.

A special election is scheduled for Nov. 19.

A candidate who wins over 50 percent of the vote will become mayor. Otherwise, a runoff between the top two vote-getters would take place early next year.

So far, 19 people have declared their intention to run. According to the City Clerk's Office, the field also includes lawyer Hud Collins, a frequent speaker at City Council meetings; Bruce Coons, head of the preservationist group Save Our Heritage Organization; Paul Michael Dekker, who, according to his website, is director of information technology at the San Diego-based nonprofit Global Energy Network Institute; and Harry J. Dirks, a La Jolla Realtor.

Also intending to run are Marcus Dunlap; physician Steven Greenwald; James Grogan; Fred Charles Hill; Michael Kemmer, whose LinkedIn page says he's an IT intern at Sempra Energy; and Jared Mimms, who says on his LinkedIn page that he has founded or co-founded four companies.

The candidates list also includes 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.

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