San Diego City Councilman Kevin Faulconer captured an impressive victory in the San Diego mayoral special election boosting him immediately as a high profile Republican in a Democratic state. Despite heavy spending against him by public unions who backed Democratic City Councilman David Alvarez and even poll numbers over the last week, Faulconer captured a 10-point win.
Prior to the election, prognostications were made that a Faulconer win might happen because of low voter turnout. While the turnout of roughly 37% was nothing to write home about, the figure is fairly typical in a mayoral election and did not give Faulconer an advantage.
In last year’s Los Angeles mayoral election, just over 23% of the registered voters turned out in an election captured by Democrat Eric Garcetti.
In fact, research indicates that of the country’s 22 largest cities most recent elections for mayor, 15 had turnouts of less than 30%. San Francisco led all cities with a 43% turnout. San Francisco employs instant runoff ranked choice voting with a single election to determine the winner.
This is not to say that the voting turnout in mayoral races around the country is not shameful – it is. However, Faulconer’s win occurred in a typical turnout race and his victory in San Diego should not be devalued by the turnout argument.