UPDATE: 10:52 PM -- Fletcher continues losing ground
Fletcher’s running out of time.
With 32.2 percent of precincts reporting, he now trails Filner by 4,708 votes. Prior to the most recent update, he trailed by 4,658 votes.
Moments before the additional vote tally was announced, Fletcher told supporters he remained optimistic.
His campaign has taken the road less traveled, he said, and asked that supporters hang with him for a few more hours.
“This campaign has never been about one man,” he said. “It’s about a team, a team with the power to move San Diego forward.”
He said the early returns were promising and moving in the right direction.
UPDATE: 10:19 PM -- Filner stretches lead over Fletcher for second place
Filner is holding on to his second-place standing as more results trickle in.
With 17.9 percent of precincts reporting, Filner now holds a 4,658 vote lead over Fletcher for second place.
DeMaio has 32.8 percent of the vote, while Filner has 28.1 percent, Fletcher has 23.2 percent and Dumanis remains in last place with 14.8 percent.
UPDATE: 9:48 PM -- Dadian: it doesn't look good for Fletcher
Political consultant John Dadian says the early returns put Fletcher in a possibly insurmountable hole to advance in San Diego's mayoral race.
"It doesn't look good for him," he said. "It's weird, in San Diego, the early returns usually mirror the primary results. It's going to be very difficult for him to catch up."
UPDATE: 8:24 PM -- DeMaio leads, Filner in second after early absentees released.
Republican Councilman Carl DeMaio is leading San Diego’s mayoral race after early returns with nearly 33 percent of the vote and Democratic Congressman Bob Filner and independent Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher are separated for second place by less than 5,000 votes.
Filner has 28.2 percent of the vote and Fletcher has 23.1 percent. They’re separated by 4,662 votes with most of the votes yet to be counted.
Republican District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis has 14.9 percent of the vote.
91,533 votes were included in the tally of absentee ballots received before today with 15.5 percent of precincts reporting.
Unless one of the candidates gets more than 50 percent of the vote, the top two finshers will proceed to a November runoff.
The San Diego Registrar of Voters released its initial tally of early absentee ballots shortly after polls closed at 8 p.m.
That count, which generally represents 25 to 30 percent of votes, will be the first clue to which candidates will advance to the November general election, or if anyone will be able to pull together the majority of votes needed to win outright.
DeMaio, a reform-minded candidate who led the signature gathering efforts for labor union-opposed Propostion A and Proposition B, has led the race in all of the public polls released before the election.
Filner has had a steady hold on the second position, buttressed by his position as the race’s only Democrat.
Fletcher gave the race its defining moment in late March when he suddenly announced he was leaving the Republican party after a lifetime as a loyal member. Shortly after the local GOP gave its formal endorsement to DeMaio, he said he was disillusioned with partisan politics and was running as an independent.
Dumanis has the support of exiting Mayor Jerry Sanders but has never pulled significant support in the polls.
Check back for more details over the course of the night.