SAN DIEGO - Two of the former supporters of Bob Filner who later became among the first to call on him to resign over his behavior as mayor announced their endorsements for his replacement on Thursday.
Councilman David Alvarez won support from ex-Councilwoman Donna Frye.
"David is dedicated to ensuring that all members of our San Diego communities have a voice in decisions that impact their quality of life," Frye said. "He understands that he is a public servant and knows that the needs of the public come first."
Frye called Alvarez a man of great heart and compassion with the strength of character to stand up for what he believes and said he would bring dignity back to City Hall.
She was referring to the scandals of former mayor Filner who was forced to resign last month.
Frye worked as Filner's director of open government until she resigned in April. She later joined with attorneys Cory Briggs and Marco Gonzalez in accusing Filner of sexual harassment and demanding he step down. Filner left office Aug. 30. All three had been ardent supporters of Filner’s progressive agenda, and had helped him get elected.
"With all due respect, you did endorse Bob Filner for Mayor, so why should people be listening to you now that you’re endorsing David Alvarez?" asked 10News reporter Allison Ash.
Frye called it a fair question saying, "I do the best I can to offer my advice, which people can take or not, to find people that I believe are going to represent the communities and the cities in the best way they can but I will also tell you when that person, if that person fails to live up to what they say they're going to do, and turns out to be a gross abuser of power, I will not remain silent. I will call out my friends as quickly as I will call out people who I have differing points of view with, so I do the best I can. I'm human. I made an awful mistake in endorsing Bob Filner, but hopefully I was able to rectify it."
Frye said she fully vetted Alvarez before endorsing him, and said that although former city attorney Michael Aguirre asked her for her endorsement, she felt that Alvarez would be the best fit for San Diego Mayor.
While endorsing Alvarez, she called for humility and courtesy in the mayor's office.
"With David, what you see is what you get," Frye said. "He's grounded and comes from a family who instilled in him core beliefs and values that are based upon respect for all members of our San Diego communities."
Political analyst John Dadian told 10News the Frye endorsement is "huge" for Alvarez, because Frye has a large number of people in the community who follow her lead.
"She still has a constituency, and that's why everybody wanted her endorsement, because a lot of people who are undecided may not know who David Alvarez is or may not know who Nathan Fletcher is, but they know that they like Donna Frye," said Dadian.
Gonzalez on Thursday threw his support behind ex-Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher.
"When it comes to the environmental issues most important to me and those I represent, Nathan is the only candidate with the vision and leadership capabilities to effect real change," Gonzalez said. "He will bring a much needed energy and focus to the mayor's office, and I look forward to standing with him as we tackle the significant challenges ahead."
Before kickstarting Filner's downfall, Gonzalez was best known for his lawsuits that sought to eliminate fireworks displays over sensitive marine habitats off San Diego's coastline.
Meanwhile, the first debate of the campaign was set for Friday afternoon. It's scheduled to take place as part of the 2013 California Asian Business Summit at the Westin Gaslamp Quarter in downtown San Diego.
Former City Attorney Mike Aguirre, Alvarez and Councilman Kevin Faulconer are scheduled to participate. Fletcher, who is speaking to summit attendees separately, will not take part.
Friday is also the deadline for prospective candidates to file nomination papers with at least 200 valid signatures to the City Clerk's Office.
The special election is set for Nov. 19. If no one wins a majority of the vote, a runoff between the top two vote-getters would be scheduled for early next year.