Final Week of Primary Campaigning Begins

The race for second place

This week, major candidates for San Diego mayor are bolstering their campaign efforts, especially two candidates tussling for the second slot to advance to a runoff.

Republican Councilman Kevin Faulconer is way out in front-- with two Dems battling to come in second.

Candidates made multiple public appearances all over town Tuesday.

Former Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher is down from where he began in the polls, but leading the money race with the most cash on hand, according to latest disclosures.

Also new this week, we're getting a first look at voter registration gains.

4,994 new voters registered as independent-- clearly outnumbering new Republicans and new Democrats.

Dems registered 2,741 new voters. The local GOP registered just 243 new Republican voters.

Special Section: Race for Mayor

Local political expert Liam Dillon from Voice of San Diego said that could hurt the clear front-runner Republican Kevin Faulconer during the general election.

Dillon said for Faulconer's campaign, "the concern is that this city is turning more blue. It's becoming more progressive. That's a fact. It's been a fact for awhile, so if I were Faulconer, I'd be worrying about who I'm going to face in the runoff no matter who it is-- if it's Alvarez or Fletcher. He may have an uphill battle."

Besides the numbers game, Faulconer might be facing an uphill battle against history, as well.

Since the 1983 contest between Maureen O'Connor and Rodger Hedgecock, no mayoral election-- that did not involve an incumbent-- has ended with the primary winner taking the mayor's seat in the runoff.

First things first.

A new American Federation of Teachers survey shows Alvarez ahead of Fletcher by six points, but that figure was well within the poll's margin of error.

That puts both Fletcher and Alvarez within striking distance.

"I think it's closer than most people might have suspected at the beginning," Dillon said.  "I think Alvarez has a shot. That was the question, whether he was going to or not, but he certainly does. You're seeing his camp act a little more confident. You're seeing Fletcher's camp act a little scared.  So I think it's really going to come down to the wire."

So close down to the wire, in fact, that it may not even be clear who the second place winner is next Tuesday night.

Those South San Diego ballots are the last to roll in and time and time again, those late votes change the numbers late in the game.

Consultants say what makes this election especially hard to get down to a "numbers science" is it's a special election with no big names on the ballot. Who will turn out to vote will make a huge difference in this primary.

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