Rep. 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, he looked to address that issue this week with a fundraiser announcing one of the highest profile endorsements of the primary.
Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom -- the former mayor of San Francisco -- came to town Wednesday, joined on stage by retired 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 because of 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 Council member 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 comprehension 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 representative 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.
Endorsements keep coming
Bonnie Dumanis this week announced she received the endorsement of the former chief of San Diego’s FBI office, Keith Slotter, who retired from his post in March.
Slotter cited his working relationship with Dumanis prosecuting Ponzi schemes, cross-border violence and foreclosure scams.
“Bonnie helped build tremendous collaboration among all of the law enforcement agencies in the region,” Slotter said.
Fletcher and Filner, meanwhile, rolled out competing sets of endorsements touting their commitment to environmentalism.
The Sierra Club of San Diego on Tuesday delivered its endorsement to Filner. He previously received the endorsement of the League of Conservation Voters as well.
Filner’s campaign noted his 92 percent lifetime voting score from the League of Conservation Voters in promoting his most recent environmental endorsement.
The next day, Fletcher announced his environment plan, joined by a group of environmentalists.
The group included Carolyn Chase, founder and CEO of Earthworks, Dominique Cano-Stocco of the League of Conservation Voters, the co-owners of Surf Divas, the former chair of the Surfrider Foundation and the founder of Open Oceans Global.
Fletcher also announced his plans to establish an “environmental dashboard” that would track defined metrics in water quality, water usage, green building implementation, solid waste management, air quality, transportation, toxins, energy and open spaces.
Dumanis stays on the attack
On May 20, during a debate hosted by NBC San Diego, Dumanis continued her escalating attacks on Fletcher on issues including his decision to leave the Republican Party and his voting record in the state Legislature.
“Let’s be real Nathan, you’re the biggest one who’s received special interests, out of everybody here. From Sacramento, to Washington, to all across the nation,” she said, after Fletcher had accused both DeMaio and Filner of having their campaigns funded by special interest groups.
When Fletcher later accused DeMaio of clogging San Diegans’ mailboxes with negative mailers, Dumanis once again challenged the assemblyman.
“Look who’s talking, Nathan,” she said. “And what about the (independent expenditure committees) that are coming in the mail for you, Nathan. All of your people, that put together all of these things, and the TV commercials where you’re attacking, you were the first one who began attacking in this entire campaign.”
Later in the week, she directly confronted Fletcher’s voting record. Where DeMaio has focused on Fletcher’s attendance in Sacramento, Dumanis instead pointed to the votes he’s made.
She accused him of “flip flopping,” for signing a taxpayer’s pledge not to raise taxes before supporting the governor’s proposal to close a loophole on out-of-state companies.
Fletcher’s compromise to close the $1 billion loophole was deficit neutral. It would have been used to provide tax breaks to California small businesses and blue collar workers.
She questioned his votes on more than 10 other bills as well.