Candidates respond to the first questions at the beginning of the NBC 7 debate in the special election for mayor.
The top four candidates vying for the mayor’s seat met Friday night for the final debate before voters cast their ballots in the special election.
San Diegans will go to the polls Tuesday, Nov. 19 to choose the next mayor who will serve for the nearly three years that'll be left on Bob Filner's unfinished term.
The four candidates - Michael Aguirre, David Alvarez, Kevin Faulconer and Nathan Fletcher answered questions for an hour on subjects ranging from personalities and character to past behavior and experience.
The long and painful scandal involving Filner’s treatment of women sparked the question of the evening: “Is there anything in your past that would cause embarrassment to you, the city and affect your ability to lead if elected mayor?”
“People know that I have integrity and I’ve demonstrated it every day since I’ve been elected and being open and honest,” Faulconer said in response to the question from NBC 7’s Mark Mullen.
Nathan Fletcher said every flaw and imperfection has been discussed publicly.
“I think it will come as no surprise to San Diego voters that I’ve changed political parties,“ Fletcher said. “That’s about the worst I think someone’s going to say.”
On Thursday, San Diego County GOP Chair Tony Krvaric posted a comment on Twitter that caused an uproar in political circles - "Because @nathanfletcher is an arrogant, self-centered prick who sees himself as God's gift to America. #idolatry"
When asked what he thought of his party’s chair making such a public statement, Faulconer told NBC 7’s Wendy Fry that the candidates should be focusing on issues. “To use comments like that, that doesn’t represent who I am, doesn’t represent my style,” he said. “That type of comment doesn’t belong in this campaign and I don’t support it.”
Alvarez, the youngest candidate, was asked if he has “the chops” to lead the city. “I think young people in this world are leading across all sectors,” Alvarez said. “I meet with everybody, I work with everybody, I respect everybody. That’s my style."
When Aguirre was asked about a sexual harassment lawsuit once filed against him, he said it was found to have no merit. He said he learned that sometimes people can abuse the system and make claims that are untrue.
He chuckled when asked if he has improved his self-control from the time he served as a divisive City Attorney.
“People have gotten an opportunity in this mayor’s race to see what a really lovely person I can be,” Aguirre said.
The debate will rebroadcast Saturday at 5 a.m. on NBC 7.
To watch the debate in its entirety, download the NBC 7 San Diego Podcast on iTunes.
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