With fewer than 100 days left until the November election, San Diego's mayoral race has just gotten a lot more intriguing.
Throughout a year-long primary campaign, political observers remarked on what was called a "bro-mance" blooming between Congressman Filner and Assemblyman Fletcher.
Each would joke back and forth about appointing the other the "Czar" of this, or the "Czar" of that.
But now, Filner's not kidding.
And Fletcher's moderate appeal could pay Filner some big political dividends if he were to sign on well before November.
"I think he wants to continue public service; I think he came up with some incredible ideas during the campaign,” Filner said in an interview Monday.
"This will be a vote of confidence to me and my administration as to how I'm going to run the city. We're going to bring in people from across the spectrum, no matter what their labels are."
So Filner, who finished in second place to Fletcher's third in the mayoral primary election, is offering Fletcher the role of point man for major economic development and military/defense industry issues -- assuming Filner defeats Councilman Carl DeMaio, the primary's plurality winner, in the November mayoral runoff.
“(Fletcher) articulated a vision; he's made a lot of friends,” Filner said. “And I hope he will look at this very seriously as a first choice."
The lame-duck, ten-term congressman used his Monday time slot as a fill-in talk radio show host to float the trial balloon in Fletcher’s direction, saying later that Fletcher and he have discussed such a possibility in recent days.
But Fletcher's a hot commodity who figures to attract other job prospects, once his second term in the Assembly ends.
"I think he impressed a lot of people,” says Liam Dillon, political reporter for Voice of San Diego. “You have folks like Bob Filner, you have the local Democratic Party, and I'm sure the folks in the private sector wanting Fletcher to join their team. Because he did show a lot in the primary. And so if I were him, I'd take my time and see what the best offer would be."
Fletcher, said to be traveling abroad right now, responded with a statement saying he "would seriously have to consider" Filner's offer.
What if he wanted to play an even broader role in a 'Filner Administration'?
"Somebody who has the experience in politics that he does, who's been a Marine in combat, you can trust in a whole variety of ways,” Filner said. “So I would like him to be a part of the Administration however he would advise, or however he can help."
Said veteran political consultant John Dadian, who has no connection to the mayoral race: "What's being reported in a Filner Administration for (Fletcher) is something that is his forte. He did have strong views on a new stadium, and a new city hall, on a new convention center. And they pretty much mesh with what would be a Filner Administration. So I think it's absolutely, borderline brilliant."
DeMaio's campaign did not comment on directly Filner's approach to Fletcher.
Instead, his people announced that Art Castanares, former chairman of the San Diego County Democratic Party, has become a strategist for Team DeMaio.