Republican Kevin Faulconer garnered nearly 55 percent of the vote
to defeat his City Council colleague, Democrat David Alvarez, who
was vying to become San Diego's first Hispanic mayor but finished
the night with just over 45 percent.
Faulconer, 47, declaring victory at a downtown hotel, is expected to
take the oath of office in early March to serve out the nearly three
years that remained in Filner's term as mayor of California's
second-most populous city.
"Together, you have sent a very strong message ... that this city is
going to stand up and work together to bring us all together," he
told his supporters.
Alvarez, 33, conceded defeat in a Twitter message congratulating
Faulconer. "It's clear that he will be the next mayor of San Diego.
I look forward to working with him."
Filner resigned in disgrace in August after nearly 20 women,
starting with his then-press secretary, publicly accused him of
making unwanted advances and other inappropriate behavior during his
brief tenure as San Diego's first Democratic mayor.
Faulconer emerged as the front-runner in an initial field of 11
candidates who ran to replace Filner in November. But he failed to
garner the simple majority needed then to win outright, setting the
stage for Tuesday's runoff with Alvarez, who had narrowly clinched
To supporters, Faulconer represents the center-right that was long
the political pedigree of mayors in San Diego, which has
traditionally tended to lean conservative, in part because of its
large military and retired military presence.
The 2012 election of Filner, a liberal Democrat who served 20 years
in Congress, was considered a political turning point.
APOLOGY, TREATMENT NOT ENOUGH
But Filner's career could not withstand the political and public
outcry against him as harassment allegations streamed in, even after
he apologized for his behavior and sought psychiatric treatment. He
later pleaded guilty to criminal charges of false imprisonment and
battery involving three women and was sentenced to three months of
[to top of second column]
On Monday, municipal officials announced that the city and Filner
had agreed to a $250,000 compensation package to settle the sexual
harassment suit brought by his first accuser, Irene McCormack
Jackson, with the entire sum coming from city coffers.
Alvarez, whose platform most resembled Filner's, was elected to the
city council in 2010 by largely working-class and Hispanic
neighborhoods, including San Ysidro and Barrio Logan, where he grew
up. He has established a track record of fighting for those
communities, often finding himself at odds with downtown interests.
Support from San Diego's Latino neighborhoods, long ignored by the
city's mainstream politicians, was seen as key in elevating Filner,
who ran on a progressive platform.
That same dynamic gave Alvarez a shot at becoming San Diego's first
Hispanic elected mayor — at least since California statehood — in a
city originally founded as a presidio, or military post, by the
Spanish five decades before Mexican independence.
The race between Faulconer and Alvarez turned nasty in the final
days of the campaign, with stacks of mailers alleging that Alvarez
is a tool of the unions and too young to run America's sixth-largest
Other mailers pointed out that Faulconer is a member of the San
Diego Yacht Club, voted to cut death and disability benefits for
firefighters, and charge that he is a pawn of downtown business
(Reporting by Marty Graham; editing by Steve Gorman, Ken Wills and Gunna Dickson)
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