Starting Wednesday, mayoral candidates will be taking some of the first official steps toward their run for office.
Wednesday is the first day to take out nomination papers – meaning, candidates must get at least 200 nomination signatures from registered voters. These papers are due in exactly one month. The primary election is on June 5 this year and the general election will be held November 6.
Yet campaigning among the so-called "Big Four" in the race began last June.
Get to know the candidates on our 2012 elections page. Scroll down to read candidate bios and see our coverage of the race so far.
The Big Four candidates have raised a significant amount of campaign funds. City Councilman Carl DeMaio raised the most so far, with $976,000 raised last year -- more than a third of which is his own money.
Assemblymember Nathan Fletcher came in second in fundraising with $775,000. District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis reported just over $471,000 last year. Congressman Bob Filner, the lone Democrat among the top four candidates, pulled in $213,000.
Filner admitted to our media partner the Voice of San Diego after a forum in January that he “needs to have more money.” Now, he says he will have enough funds by the time the general election rolls around.
Dumanis’ relatively modest treasury isn't a concern either, said Dumanis’ spokesman Steve Walker.
“We met our goals and we’re proud of what we raised,” Walker said. “We don’t need to have the most, we just need to have enough.”
Many of the candidates have already unveiled platform goals and ambitious plans for reform in the last several months. Namely, DeMaio has been pushing his Comprehensive Pension Reform Ballot initiative, which would replace the city’s starved pension system with a 401(K)-style retirement plan for new city employees. Voters will decide on the initiative in June.
Dumanis also released an 8-point school reform plan which includes adding four members to the San Diego Unified School District’s board. The members would be appointed by the mayor.
Fletcher’s campaign is focused on the candidate’s “fresh” approach to governing, and “turning the page on the problems of the past,” said his spokeswoman, Amy Thoma.
Fletcher is touting a job-creation plan that emphasizes “innovation” in sectors such as biotechnology, tourism and defense.
Compared to the three major candidates who will be competing head-to-head in the June primary, Filner has stayed relatively quiet about his goals and plans for mayor.
Recent polls show DeMaio and Filner in the top two most favored candidates. Dumanis was behind in those polls, but she claimed in a recent interview with NBC 7 San Diego’s Gene Cubbison that polls showed her 20 points behind when she won her seat as District Attorney. Polls today might be similarly off, she said.
The same recent poll showed 24 percent of respondents as not decided, or “other.” And with the primary election still more than four months away, candidates have many opportunities to win over voters.