Unprecedented negativity displayed in San Diego mayoral race

Carl DeMaio, Bob Filner continue attacks

SAN DIEGO -  

With less than a month until Election Day, the two San Diego mayoral candidates continue to trade negative jabs.

"I don't even accept a cup of coffee. I pay my own way," said City Councilman Carl DeMaio in a news conference. "He's accepted over $38,000 in free travel junkets from special interests."

DeMaio was referring to congressional travel junkets members of Congress commonly take to go on overseas "fact-finding" missions, typically paid for by various organizations, countries or nonprofits.

The accusation is the latest in a series of slams between DeMaio and Rep. Bob Filner.

"I travel on behalf of my constituents not for myself," Filner responded. "I will take money for trips for those who are trying to increase our understanding of the world and for allowing us to represent San Diego and improve the economy."

"It's like we're trying to elect candidates in a Freddy Krueger movie for heaven's sakes," said political analyst Carl Luna.

From their attack ads on each other to their news conferences, both men have come out swinging.

"If I'm going to be hit on things like meeting world leaders on behalf of my constituents, I have to answer that," said Filner.

"At least nobody's going to wake up with a horse's head in their bed, but yeah, if you say something about one side they will feel obligated to try to change the narrative back to you," explained Luna.

This is an unusually nasty race for mayor, according to Luna, because the candidates are so far apart in philosophy and their money to spend. Any attempt at civility has been a non-starter.

"It's kind of like in a relationship where both sides say let's talk about this civilly, but then someone hits a trigger word and off you go to the races," said Luna.

Does Luna think either of these candidates has crossed the line?

"Both of them have gotten close to the line," said Luna. "It's effective and it's not effective. The biggest impact it has is it turns people off and they don't vote."

Luna said whoever is behind has more reason to be negative. In a recent 10News poll, DeMaio trailed Filner by 12 points.

"There's two ways you win. You get your horse ahead of the other guy or you trip the other guy's horse." Luna said.

Luna believes the race could become even nastier as the election approaches, but feels the candidates need to be careful with negativity or risk turning off voters completely.

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