Dems, GOP Say Fletcher Defection is Desperate

Interviews with local party leaders reveal consensus about the mayoral candidate’s departure from the Republican Party

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Nathan Fletcher announced his decision to leave the GOP in a video on his website Wednesday.

    The dust is still swirling after Mayoral Candidate Nathan Fletcher announced his explosive decision on Wednesday to leave the GOP and run as an independent candidate.

    Leaders of both major parties offer the same assessment – Fletcher’s move was one of desperation.

    His announcement came only a few days after one of the race's most recent polls showed Fletcher in a third-place tie with opponent and District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, a Republican, at 10 percent. Republican City Councilmember Carl DeMaio led with 24 percent of voters.

    “We saw that he hovered at the bottom of the polls,” said San Diego County Democratic Party Chair Jess Durfee in an interview with NBC San Diego’s Gene Cubbison to be aired Sunday. “June 5 was approaching and he had to do something dramatic.”

    San Diego’s Republican Party Executive Director Barrett Tetlow agreed that the defection was a sign of weakness.

    “What this move has proven is that it’s impossible to trust Nathan Fletcher,” Telow said. “Nineteen days ago he asked for the Republican endorsement, he made the case for why he was the next generation of Republican leadership. But then he didn’t get that vote, someone else did, and he stormed out and now we are where we are.”

    However, Fletcher said this is exactly the reaction he needed to prove his point.

    “If you have people on the far right and the far left attacking you – that tells you you’re doing something right,” Fletcher said in the interview with Cubbison. “You tout one scorecard that says ‘he’s not really a Republican,’ and the other one that says ‘he really is.’ And at the end of the day I’ve just always done what I believe in my heart is right.”

    For more of this interview, plus commentary from local political insiders and an exclusive interview with Nathan Fletcher, watch Politically Speaking with Gene Cubbison Sunday at 9 a.m. on NBC 7. Segments from the show will be posted to NBCSanDiego.com after the show.