Let’s review the special election calendar in San Diego’s city charter (Article XV, Section 265(e)).
Upon the creation of a vacancy, the council will call a special election within 90 days. If a candidate does not receive a majority (50%+1) of votes in that election, the special runoff election will be within 49 days of the special election. Thus, if the council meets the first two weeks of September to declare a victory, we’re likely looking at an early December election with a late January runoff.
Paul Mitchell looks at the possible election dates.
A special, versus a recall, election, is good news for Democrats because of the runoff provision. If a recall had qualified and a majority of votes were cast for “yes,” the plurality of votes recipient would have become mayor. With multiple Democrats likely in the race likely facing one major Republican, it would have been very difficult for Democrats to hold the office. Further, labor would have been in an awkward position of having to decide whether it was “yes” or “no” on the recall, and picking a candidate. (Remember the awkward 2003 messaging?)
I expect DeMaio to run (particularly if Nathan Fletcher runs), although while a loss wouldn’t block his run against Scott Peters in CD52 next year, the NRCC would likely be looking for a new horse who can focus on a full year of fundraising. Alternatively, if DeMaio sticks with his plan to run against Peters, councilmember Kevin Faulconer will carry the conservative banner.
On the Democratic side, you have council president Todd Gloria, former Assemblymember Nathan Fletcher, former State Senator Christine Kehoe, and Assemblymember Toni Atkins, and certainly others, among possible candidates. The other candidates are likely starting anew, and self-funded candidates are thus favored.
With the relatively short timeframe, candidates who already have accounts will be best positioned. The mayoral election has a $1,000 per contributor limit (for each the special and special runoff), and transfers up to that amount per contributor are allowed. Toni Atkins has $263,000 on hand, while Carl DeMaio has $469,644 in his congressional account. Todd Gloria may have money in his council account, but I couldn’t track it down this morning.
For DeMaio, a transfer from congressional account funds might be more difficult, as they have been raised specifically for the race against Scott Peters and with the assistance of the NRCC.
Todd Gloria, former district director for Congresswoman Susan Davis lives in Toni Atkins’s Assembly district and it’s possible that he takes a pass on the mayor’s race if Atkins is in and instead sets his sights on Sacramento.
If Atkins runs and is successful, that obviously changes up Speaker politics. She had widely been seen as the next Speaker, although a transition is not expected until mid-next year. Several ambitious freshmen are thus very interested in San Diego, beyond the salacious details of the Filner situtation. Names being talked include Jimmy Gomez, Chris Holden and Anthony Rendon. And, no, for those of you who saw me having coffee with Rendon on Tuesday, we did not talk about that possibility. Any of these could lead to the longest speakership since Willie Lewis Brown, Jr.
Crossposted in the Nooner