In becoming the most well-known figure to cross party lines in the San Diego mayoral campaign, noted Democrat Irwin Jacobs on Thursday threw his support behind Republican City Councilman Carl DeMaio.
DeMaio touted the endorsement as evidence of his broad-based support, and he used the occasion to announce his plans for a bipartisan administration if elected mayor.
"I am humbled and thrilled to have the endorsement of one of San Diego's leading business figures, philanthropists and a key Democrat," DeMaio said at a press conference in front of his campaign headquarters. "I appreciate the trust and faith that Dr. Jacobs has in my ability to move San Diego forward, on a bipartisan basis, by bringing all sides together to tackle the challenges facing this great city."
Jacobs, co-founder of local telecom giant Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM) who also is noted for giving millions to charity, did not attend the press conference.
In a statement released by the DeMaio campaign, Jacobs said DeMaio will be able to create jobs, attract businesses and improve the city's cultural life if elected mayor.
"He has impressed me with his intelligence and his command of the issues facing our city and its neighborhoods," Irwin said in his statement. "Carl will be a worthy successor to Mayor Jerry Sanders."
Jacobs is the architect behind a plan to renovate Balboa Park's Plaza de Panama and has pledged to fund a majority of the $45 million project. The controversial plan, which seeks to re-route vehicular traffic away from the plaza with an overpass bridge, drew sharp criticism from DeMaio's opponent in the mayoral race, Rep. Bob Filner, a Democrat.
Filner, who voiced his displeasure for the plan at a City Council meeting attended by Jacobs, has since backed off his opposition slightly, saying as mayor he'd work to implement the will of the City Council.
DeMaio said he didn't discuss Jacobs' view of Filner while seeking Jacobs' endorsement.
The two talked about "the importance of finishing the job of fiscal reform" and "the opportunities to bring more people into a collaborative approach to solving problems," DeMaio said.
DeMaio didn't ask Jacobs to attend the press conference, saying the event was not about one Democrat joining his team, but rather a "coalition" of support.
The mayoral hopeful also said if elected he will reach out to Democrats and Independents, as well as Republicans, to fill key roles on his staff. He said he would take a bipartisan approach to appointing department directors and those who serve on city boards and commissions.
"San Diego needs balance," DeMaio said. "We need different points of view around the table represented. By listening to different views, we will come up with better solutions. I want to have an administration where all sides are welcome, at the table and engaged in solving our challenges."
It's DeMaio's second high-profile endorsement of the week, following Tuesday's announcement that Sanders was supporting his campaign for mayor.