Congressman Bob Filner has struggled to raise money for his mayoral campaign. That’s why, until this week, he was the only candidate without ads running on local TV.
The lone Democrat in the race for San Diego mayor, he looked to address that issue this week with a fundraiser announcing one of the highest profile endorsements of the primary.
Lt. Gov. and former San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom came to town Wednesday, joined on stage by former San Diego City Councilwoman Donna Frye to inspire roughly 100 Democratic supporters over the final two weeks before the June 5 mayoral primary.
Newsom echoed Filner’s campaign pitch in delivering his endorsement, saying he’s the best choice for mayor due to his career in San Diego politics, from the president of the school board to the City Council to the 20 years he’s spent in Congress.
“He understands as a City Councilmember the importance of building those neighborhoods, focusing on infrastructure, focusing on block-by-block revitalization. It’s not just downtown," Newsom said. “He understands the immigration debate, because he’s been out there fighting for comprehensive immigration reform to do it right, and do it better, and it doesn’t surprise any of you because he represents one of the most diverse districts, in the most diverse state, in the world’s most diverse democracy.”
Newsom said it was important from a state perspective for San Diego to elect a Democratic mayor.
“All of our economic strategies in this state need to be implemented locally,” he said. “The real change that’s occurring in this state and for that matter across the country is in our cities. It is incredibly important that we have strong foundational leadership in our cities.”
Filner admitted during his speech that he needed to raise enough money to afford a TV buy for the final week of the campaign.
Later in the week, he unveiled his first TV spot.
The longtime congressman has been criticized by supporters and opponents both for running a lackluster campaign, which has been reflected in his low fundraising totals. In an interview with Voice of San Diego, Filner himself admitted the mayoral campaign was harder than he imagined it would be.
Frye, who received a winning margin during a five-week 2004 write in campaign for mayor against Dick Murphy, said she doesn’t care about messaging, fundraisers or press conferences.
"The things that are important to me are whether or not the person that’s standing there telling me something is actually telling me the truth, and are the things that he or she is articulating, are they things that I care about, is it something that when they get into office will they actually do what they say," she said.