Although Bob Filner is still mayor, the race to replace him has already begun. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
San Diego’s lame-duck mayor will be in office until Friday.
But already, seven prospective candidates-- only one a household name-- have filed paperwork for the race to ascend to the office still held by the disgraced Bob Filner.
Whatever the ultimate size of the field, in a short time-window for a primary election...name recognition, current political experience and major money go a long way toward the winner's circle-- or at least a runoff.
That profile seems to fit the two City Council members who helped broker Filner's resignation.
Council President Todd Gloria and 2nd District Representative Kevin Faulconer are both now considering a run for the time left in Filner’s first -- and only – term.
"It’s a very big difficult decision. It’s not one that can be made in a vacuum,” Gloria said on Sunday’s edition of NBC 7’s “Politically Speaking” program. “You know, my first priority, of course, is the city. You'll see me throw myself into the duties of the acting mayor to make sure we get the city back on track."
Said Faulconer, in that same segment of the show: "That's been our sole focus. I'll make my decision in the coming days as well. But as I go through that, I can tell you we're not going to lose focus on getting back to the business of San Diego."
Faulconer, a Republican, chairs the Council's Audit Committee, which is looking into Filner's financial dealings.
Gloria, as acting mayor, could enjoy quite an audition to serve out Filner's term. Will he need restraint, campaigning in the special election?
"It doesn't have to be electioneering,” Andrew Keatts said, who specializes in covering civic issues for Voice of San Diego. “Just doing a competent job is, in fact, making a case for yourself as the mayor."
Former Councilmember Carl DeMaio, a Republican defeated by Filner last year’s mayoral runoff, could make a case for himself -- moonlighting while he runs for Congress.
With Faulconer on the verge of vying, and given interest from Republican County Supervisor Ron Roberts -- a former Councilmember and mayoral candidate -- GOP leaders hope to focus their endorsement and money-raising efforts.
They declined to confirm accounts from NBC 7 sources that whoever gets the most votes in a privately commissioned poll involving Faulconer, DeMaio and Roberts will win the party's backing.
GOP officials said only that they're "analyzing the situation with the goal of uniting behind one candidate".
Meantime, former Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher-- an ex-Republican and ex-Independent who's just turned Democrat, and was first to file papers for the race– doubts that his political peregrinations will marginalize him.
"Political parties change, people change," Fletcher said in a Monday interview with NBC 7.
"I am very comfortable now as a Democrat,” he continued. “But what hasn't changed and what will never change is my willingness to work with people regardless of any party, to move our city forward. And that's what I believe we need now."
Fletcher cited his background in the Marine Corps and State Legislature, and current pursuits as a top Qualcomm executive and adjunct professor of political science at UC San Diego: “I think I have a well-rounded base of skills."
Democratic political strategist Jon Elliott-- who once advised Filner, but authored the Democratic National Committee's resolution calling for Filner's ouster-- offers this bet on who makes the runoff:
"I think it will come down to Kevin and Todd,” Elliott said. “And I'm fine with either one of them as mayor because they have together steered City Council over the last nine months of a very bumpy ride…negotiating a very good deal for the city.”
Besides Fletcher, the other prospective candidates who have filed for the race are: