10:15 p.m. update: Filner gains some ground in small vote update
DeMaio now leads Filner by 1.86 percent in the San Diego mayoral race after the Registrar added another 2,031 votes to its total tally.
The registrar has now reported 17.4 percent of precincts in the race.
The ground Filner gained since the initial voting results amounted to only 15 votes, out of 150,157 total votes counted thus far.
9:43 p.m. update: Early SD Mayor results suggest long night
While Carl DeMaio holds a nearly 2 percent lead among absentee votes, his lead is within the spread that can be reasonably made up once in-person ballots begin being counted.
In the past, Republican political consultant John Dadian has said San Diego County has an almost uncanny habit of having its early voting results mirror its overall results.
But John Nienstedt of local polling firm Competitive Edge, which is the internal pollster of the San Diego GOP, said earlier this week that 90 percent of elections have less than a 2.5 percent split between early votes and day-of votes.
Filner is within that margin, meaning his campaign doesn't need to hope that he's the rare outlying candidate who can close a bigger gap.
Also comforting to Filner is the registration split among early voters reported by the San Diego Registrar prior to election day.
Among Republicans, 57 percent had already voted prior to Election Day. Only 50 percent of Democrats had already done so.
DeMaio takes lead in absentee vote count
Republican Councilman Carl DeMaio leads his opponent, Democratic Rep. Bob Filner, by just over 2 percent in the race to become the city’s next mayor, according to the San Diego Registrar of Voters’ count of mail-in and early voting ballots.
DeMaio took 50.95 percent of the pre-Election Day vote, compared to 49.05 percent for Filner. DeMaio’s lead is 2,818 votes out of the 148,126 already counted.
The first ballot count was expected to account for roughly 30 percent of citywide votes, the Registrar said in a Monday email to media outlets.
The next large set of results is expected to be released at 11 p.m.
Filner, representative of the county’s southernmost Congressional district for the last two decades, is trying to become the city’s first Democratic mayor since 1992.
Among Congress’ most liberal votes, he has pledged to run City Hall with a focus on neighborhood-related infrastructure, rather than downtown-centric development.
DeMaio is a one-term councilman who made his name in San Diego as a champion of fiscal reform.
The small government conservative led the movements against Proposition D, Mayor Jerry Sanders’ 2010 attempt to raise sales taxes to help balance the budget, and in favor of Proposition B, the pension reform measure that changed most new city hires to 401(k)-style retirement plans in June.
DeMaio significantly out fundraised Filner throughout the election, bringing in $3.63 million (including $700,000 of his own money), compared to Filner’s total of $990,000. Outside groups ate into DeMaio’s advantage, with Filner-affiliated SuperPAC’s bringing in $2.1 million, and conservative groups spending $1.5 million for DeMaio.
Filner has promised to ensure all city buildings are solar powered in five years, wants to expand operations at the Unified Port of San Diego to produce middle class jobs, and says he’ll use the city’s 2 percent tax on hotel stays currently sent to the Tourism Marketing District instead to fund the police department’s five-year staffing plan.
His high profile endorsers include former President Bill Clinton, Gov. Jerry Brown, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsome, Council President Tony Young and former City Councilwoman Donna Frye. Supporters also include each of the city’s public safety-related labor unions.
DeMaio promises to use savings generated through pension reform and other cost savings to fund road repairs and increase city service levels. He’ll redo certain reforms that have already been enacted to produce even steeper savings rates, and would reduce city regulations in order to make it easier for businesses to create jobs. He also supports the Navy Broadway Complex project.
His endorsers include Sanders, former Gov. Pete Wilson, Qualcomm founder Irwin Jacobs, Councilman Kevin Faulconer and District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis. Supporters of his include the Lincoln Club of San Diego and the U-T San Diego.