Final stretch in San Diego mayor race begins: Alvarez picks up endorsement from President Obama

SAN DIEGO - As the final stretch of the mayor's race got underway Saturday with Councilmen David Alvarez and Kevin Faulconer crisscrossing San Diego in search of votes, Alvarez's campaign got a boost with an endorsement from President Barack Obama.

Alvarez was set to begin his day at 9 a.m. by launching a precinct walk at Parkside Community Park in Paradise Hills. He was scheduled for a similar walk in San Ysidro an hour later.

His schedule also included visiting a supermarket in Mira Mesa, attending a Chinese New Year celebration in the Gaslamp Quarter and going to a farmer's market in University Heights.

Alvarez also picked up Obama's endorsement on Saturday.

"As a native San Diegan, David Alvarez has been a fierce advocate for his city, and on the Council, has led efforts to build a strong middle class, put neighborhoods first and expand opportunities for kids in and out of school. Today, with the city's economy and neighborhoods poised to make progress there is no question that David is the right choice to be San Diego's next mayor and I am excited to support him," Obama said.

Alvarez said it was an honor to be endorsed by the president.

"In my years of public service, I have championed many of the same priorities that the President addressed at the State of the Union. I look forward to working with him to achieve our shared agenda and priorities," he said. "Together, we can make San Diego a city that expands opportunity for all."

Faulconer planned to host a 10 a.m. Get Out the Vote rally at his campaign headquarters, and later met with the National Black Contractors Association. He was also scheduled to attend The People's Ball Coronation XLII, a fundraiser for gay and lesbian causes, at the Lafayette Hotel in North Park.

Over the past week, Alvarez has attended campaign events with Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro. He also received the endorsement of a group of black police officers who disagreed with the San Diego Police Officers Association's support of his competitor.

Meanwhile, Faulconer has gained the backing of seven local mayors and outspoken former City Attorney Mike Aguirre -- a Democrat who crossed party lines and criticized the large amount of money organized labor has contributed to Alvarez's campaign.

The winner of Tuesday's runoff election will finish the nearly three years remaining in the term of former mayor Bob Filner, who stepped down Aug. 30.

Results of a poll conducted on behalf of 10News and U-T San Diego are expected to be released Sunday. Faulconer has generally led by a small margin in previous surveys, and political observers expect a close election that will be determined by Tuesday's turnout.

The county Registrar of Voters Office projected a turnout of 45 to 50 percent of registered voters. Of the nearly 356,000 mail ballots issued, more than 159,000 were returned by early Friday. Another 993 ballots were cast at the registrar's office through Thursday.

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