SAN DIEGO (AP) — San Diego returned to its old ways of being a Republican city inside a belt of Liberal voters when they went to the polls for the San Diego Mayor race.
San Diego Republican city councilman, Kevin Faulconer, 47, claimed a decisive win in the election for San Diego mayor, following the fall out of Democrat Mayor, Bob Filer, who was forced to resign amid allegations of sexual harassment.
The win offers a dose of good news for the Republican party after performing poorly in California and in races to lead major American cities. San Diego becomes the nation’s largest city with a Republican mayor, and Kevin Faulconer will be the only Republican to lead a major city in California, where Democrats hold all statewide offices.
Following the victory on Wednesday, Kevin Faulconer, said that his emphasis will be on working across party lines and his embrace of fiscal measures such as cutting pensions for city workers and putting more city services up for private bidding led to his surprisingly large margin of victory.
The two-term councilman and former public relations executive led Democratic Councilman David Alvarez by 54.5 percent to 45.5 percent with all precincts reporting.
He will fill the unexpired term of Bob Filner, 71, who was elected San Diego’s first Democratic leader in 20 years in 2012 but resigned after less than nine months in office amid a torrent of sexual harassment allegations. Filner, a former 10-term congressman, pleaded guilty in October to one felony count of false imprisonment and two misdemeanor counts of battery and began a three-month sentence of home confinement on Jan. 1.
Alvarez, 33, and groups supporting him — mainly organized labor — outspent Faulconer and his largely pro-business allies by about $1 million. Faulconer sought to turn that to his advantage by relentlessly portraying Alvarez as a tool for labor unions.
“Our tracking polls showed that Alvarez’s union ties were devastating,” said Faulconer pollster John Nienstedt. “We morphed it into an anchor on him.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.