SAN DIEGO -
Former President Bill Clinton Wednesday endorsed Bob Filner in the Democratic congressman's San Diego mayoral bid, his campaign announced.
Filner said he speaks with Clinton occasionally and that the former president, who was a frequent visitor to San Diego while in office, is aware of the various issues in the city.
"We convinced him this race for mayor was of national importance," said Filner, who is locked in a tight race with Councilman Carl DeMaio.
Filner's campaign played a recording of a telephone call from Clinton for reporters, which he said would be relayed to several hundred thousand San Diego voters.
"Bob has the experience to move San Diego forward -- to create good-paying 21st century jobs, to support quality public education and to put neighborhoods first, not special interests," Clinton said.
Filner said he worked with Clinton on securing funding for a sewage treatment plant in the Tijuana River Valley and a veterans' home in Chula Vista, and crafted legislation to use federal money to hire more public safety workers at the local level.
He said he has the support of five San Diego City Council members and numerous other elected officials, including mayors and top state officials.
"The mayor has to work with these people," Filner said. "They know me, they have confidence in me, and they support my candidacy."
About 30 public safety workers, mainly firefighters, stood behind Filner during the news conference.
DeMaio touts his many endorsements from the business community.
"The mayoral election will be decided by San Diegans," said his campaign spokesman, K.B. Forbes. "We are proud of our broad and bipartisan support, including San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders, San Diego's top Democrat Irwin Jacobs and District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis."
The councilman visited a restaurant Wednesday to discuss small businesses and job creation, and was slated to speak at a conference of security professionals at the Paradise Point Resort.