Filner to become mayor of San Diego; DeMaio concedes

Results shows Filner has 51 percent of vote

SAN DIEGO - Rep. Bob Filner, D-San Diego was headed to the San Diego mayor's office as Councilman Carl DeMaio conceded the race Wednesday.

With all precincts reporting, Filner had 51.53 percent of the vote, compared with 48.47 for DeMaio, with about 10,000 votes separating the two candidates out of more than 320,000 cast.

As of 2:24 a.m., about 475,000 absentee or provisional ballots still had to be counted.

DeMaio told reporters Wednesday morning it was possible, but not probable, he could overcome Filner's lead.

"I know that ballots are still being counted, and I will absolutely ensure every vote counts and that process will happen in respect above my decision today to concede this race," DeMaio said. "So every ballot will count, but I want to give our next mayor the most time possible to put together a solid administration and I want to begin the process of healing our city and bringing all sides together … I think if you look at the elections results nationally, statewide and particularly here in this race, it's time for all sides to come together and put the best interest of San Diego first."

He said he would help Filner make a successful transition and to move San Diego forward. He said he was optimistic to hand Filner a city government that was on the right path to financial recovery.

DeMaio based his campaign on continuing economic changes started under termed-out Mayor Jerry Sanders, who gave the councilman his backing. Sanders Wednesday issued a statement congratulating Filner.

"He's a long-time San Diegan and my hope is that he will continue to move our city forward with the kinds of reforms that have fueled San Diego's turn-around.  I wish him all the best and look forward to working with him to ensure a smooth transition," Sanders said.

Filner said he would oversee a change of political power from what he called "downtown special interests" to the neighborhoods. The city's political structure has not kept up, he added.

"People in this city have realized that I am on their side and this city has got to change," Filner told supporters Tuesday night while votes were still being tallied. "This city has changed demographically, it has changed business-wise, it has changed -- the kind of people and the way they look at the world."

"We're going to focus on jobs, jobs, jobs, but we're going to show that we're going to involve the whole diversity of the city in government, I mean the appointments and the kind of early indication I can give, of who we're going to hire, we're going to show that we're going to literally change the face of this government," Filner told 10News early Wednesday morning, prior to DeMaio's concession.

The councilman and congressman emerged from a field of four major candidates in the June 5 primary, with both collecting nearly one-third of the vote. They ousted District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis and Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, who left the Republican Party to become an independent in a highly publicized move.

10News learned that the next update on provisional and absentee ballot results will take place by 5 p.m. Thursday.

Filner is the first Democrat elected mayor of San Diego since Maureen O'Connor in 1988.

If he had won, DeMaio would have become the first openly gay Republican mayor of a large U.S. city.

Filner, who will be San Diego's 35th mayor, is scheduled to be inaugurated Dec. 3 at Golden Hall.

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