The four big-name candidates in the San Diego mayor's race already have raised more than $1 million total for the campaign.
The other ten hopefuls are banking on ideas to promote their causes.
One of them has filed a lawsuit against San Diego's redistricting process.
At 64, retired Army Major Hud Collins is intently pursuing a second career as an attorney.
Collins also practices in the Court of Public Opinion as a watchdog who barks and growls at the City Council.
Over the years, Council members have gotten used to his sometimes outraged lectures during "non-agenda public comment" sessions.
"I've complained to the City constantly about this situation," Collins told Superior Court Judge Joan Lewis during a hearing Thursday. "I have recently discovered new evidence."
Collins' lawsuit challenges the legality of a June 2010 ballot measure which created Council District 9 and solidified the powers of the so-called “strong mayor” system of municipal government.
Judge Lewis refused his request for a restraining order aimed at stopping city commissioners from voting on new Council district maps several hours later.
But she did grant Collins a hearing next month on a preliminary injunction motion.
He said if the ruling goes against him, he won't appeal it.
While those legalities are pending, Collins will stay "on the city's case" and keep advancing arguments about issues in the mayor's race.
"We have no audited books; we can't borrow on bonds," Collins said of the city's financial crisis. "The Councils are not doing anything to solve the situation. We're in an emergency situation."
Collins knows a bit about emergency situations.
He was awarded the Bronze Star for combat duty as a field artillery officer during the Vietnam War, and numerous other commendations during his military career.
Now he's devoting his time and energy to warfare of a civic nature.
"I can't affect national policy," he explained. "My wife loves it here, I live here. And I want the best for the city."
Collins has an elaborate fiscal recovery plan that involves shifting municipal assets into the pension fund.
But he's got no campaign treasury to speak of.
"Money is not going to win this race," he insisted. "Ideas are going to win it."