San Diego mayor race: Alvarez, Faulconer expected to meet in runoff

Fletcher finishes close third

SAN DIEGO - Councilmen Kevin Faulconer and David Alvarez will likely face each other in a runoff election for San Diego mayor on a still-to-be scheduled date early next year, according to unofficial results from the San Diego County Registrar of Voters.

According the county website, there are approximately 34,500 mail/provisional ballots still left to be counted.

Democracy 2013: Special Election Coverage

Faulconer and Alvarez spoke to numerous reporters and supporters Wednesday, while Nathan Fletcher announced that he will end his pursuit of elected office after finishing third for the second straight time.

Faulconer spoke with reporters from the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times, along with members of the San Diego media, according to Tony Manolatos, his campaign spokesman. It seemed like all the television outlets wanted him twice, he said.

He said Faulconer, who led Tuesday night's count with 43.58 percent of the vote, also worked on city business Wednesday.

Alvarez, who canceled some morning media appearances because his voice went hoarse Tuesday night, later talked to employees who staged a walkout at UCSD Medical Center.

Alvarez picked up 52,283 votes, or 25.59 percent, to finish 2,638 votes ahead of Fletcher. The councilman said he has received calls of support from Fletcher's supporters.

Fletcher, the former assemblyman, endorsed Alvarez at a news conference Wednesday and said he respected the voters' decision.

"I leave today with my head held high, feeling really good about the campaign that we ran, about the ideas we've advanced, about the way we've conducted ourselves," he told reporters.

Fletcher said he promised his wife he would step away from public life if he lost the race. He gained 24.3 percent of the vote. He also finished third in the June 2012 mayoral primary election.

Alvarez later sent a statement thanking Fletcher for his support.

"He has been and continues to be someone who has put community service above himself," Alvarez said of Fletcher. "We share a vision for the future of San Diego, where we invest in our neighborhoods, protect our environment and strengthen the middle class. I look forward to broadening the coalition of San Diegans who share that vision too."

A runoff will be held, probably in February, because no candidate received a majority.

The only other candidate to receive at least 1 percent of the vote was former City Attorney Michael Aguirre, who finished fourth with 4.44 percent.

Lawyer Hud Collins; Harry Dirks, a Realtor; San Diego State University student Michael Kemmer; businessman Sina "Simon" Moghadam; construction superintendent Tobiah Pettus; and retired contractor Lincoln Pickard all drew around a half-percent or less. Engineer Farrah Pirahanchi qualified as a write-in candidate.

Bruce Coons, whose name appeared on the ballot, withdrew from the race and endorsed Alvarez, but still received nearly 900 votes.

The special election was brought about by Mayor Bob Filner's resignation in August, when he was under fire for sexual harassment and being investigated for various other transgressions, including alleged shakedowns of developers.

Filner subsequently pleaded guilty to one felony count of false imprisonment by violence and two misdemeanor counts of battery and was placed on three years probation.

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