After running unopposed for her second and third terms as District Attorney, Bonnie Dumanis now has a serious challenger for a fourth term.
On Wednesday that challenger – Bob Brewer – garnered endorsements from 10 major law enforcement unions representing thousands of Southern California peace officers..
"These endorsements today, ladies and gentlemen, significantly change the dynamics in this district attorney race,” Brewer told reporters at a late-morning news conference at San Diego police headquarters downtown. “Today is a game-changer."
Brewer has been in private law practice for three decades, after several years as a federal and state prosecutor.
He's targeting a return to the public sector at a time when Dumanis has lost the support of rank-and-file cops and sheriff’s deputies, who Brewer says view her as “too political".
Said Brian Marvel, president of the San Diego Police Officers Association: "We've been disappointed with Bonnie's communication with our communities. It seems we only hear form her when election day approaches. She has consistently placed politics above her responsibilities as D.A."
They cite her unsuccessful run for mayor in last year's city primary – a move they thought was ill-advised after they had told her in 2010 that she wouldn’t get their endorsement because of her political machinations.
They also fault her for endorsing Carl DeMaio and other politicians looking to get elected.
Brewer vows he'll never seek another office.
"I will never endorse any political candidate,” he said. “And I will not allow the office or myself to be involved in partisan politics."
Retorted Dumanis: “Our office has never been political. Our office does the right thing for the right reasons. That's our mantra."
In an interview Wednesday, Dumanis insisted she's fully engaged with the local law enforcement community, and enjoys the support of other public safety groups.
She said she ran for mayor because she thought in that office, her expertise would greatly enhance public safety: "I have always been passionate about public safety. And the mayor's office deals in public safety more than anything else, because that's the very foundation of government.”
Dumanis questions Brewer's prosecutorial expertise: "He doesn't know what this job is all about. I've been doing this for 11 years, and I know what the real issues are."
Said Brewer: “I will be surrounded by very professional people. I’m going to hire all the internal leadership from within the office. And leadership is something that doesn’t change. Leadership is very easily translated from the private sector to the public sector.”
San Diegans haven't seen a campaign debate among district attorney candidates since 2002 when Dumanis, then a judge in her eighth year on the bench, unseated two-term incumbent Paul Pfingst.
On Wednesday, both Dumanis and Brewer – a Silver Star and Bronze Star recipient for airborne combat service in Vietnam -- welcomed the idea of "rising to the dialectic" in this race.