Early voting in San Diego mayoral race begins as new campaign ads begin to flood airwaves

SAN DIEGO - Early voting for a mayor to replace Bob Filner began Monday as new campaign ads begin to flood the airwaves.

The special election is set for Nov. 19, but early voting is an option between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays between then and now at the Registrar of Voter's office in Kearny Mesa at 5201 Ruffin Road, Suite I.

Former San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders, who is now with the San Diego Chamber of Commerce, appears in an ad for mayoral candidate Kevin Faulconer.

"I worked with him for seven years," Sanders says in the ad. "He was there for the tough decisions on pension reform and managed competition."

Meantime, candidate Nathan Fletcher received a major endorsement from Gov. Jerry Brown.

"We worked together in Sacramento, balancing a budget, getting Chelsea's Law passed. He was a mayor of a big city and twice elected governor, his endorsement means quite a bit," Fletcher said as his campaign rolled out a new ad as well. 

"I'm really happy to see that all the ads are upbeat, but will they stay that way?" said San Diego State University marketing professor Dr. George Belch. "We have a climate now with the shutdown mess in Washington and of course the criminal plea with Bob Filner that people have a bad taste of politics."

Nov. 4 is the last day to register to vote in the special election, which was made necessary by Filner's resignation Aug. 30 under pressure from women who said he sexually harassed them. The last day to apply for a mail-in ballot is Nov. 12.

On Nov. 8, mail-in ballots will be opened and prepared for computer tabulation.

San Diego County Registrar of Voters Michael Vu predicted 50-55 percent turnout for the election.

"The reason I'm going for those percentages is today we're going to be putting into the mail stream 357,000 mail ballots to the voters within the city," Vu told a local television station. "That's about 52 percent of the entire voter population within the city that are voting by mail."

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. on Nov. 19.

Belch said it is about getting to the second round.  If no candidate wins a majority of the vote, the top two vote-getters will face one another in a runoff in 2014.

"That's where I think we'll start seeing the negative ads … when the outside interests who support their candidate start funding political ads," Belch said.

There are no propositions on the ballot.

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