A big power play has just stirred up the politics in a key City Council race.
On Monday, San Diego's Republican mayor endorsed one of the Democrats running for the District 3 seat.
The other Dem calls the move a "conservative coup.”
Democratic Party and labor leaders say the Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s backing of Anthony Bernal will matter less to District 3 voters than the fact that Bernal's termed-out boss, Councilman Todd Gloria, isn't endorsing Bernal.
But they're concerned that Bernal could dilute the Dems' 5-4 voting bloc on the Council.
"I've worked with Anthony and I've seen first-hand the work that he does in the neighborhoods, the work he does here at City Hall,” Faulconer told a scrum of reporters on Civic Center Plaza. “I think he brings the right brand of experience, of compassion, and his ability to work with everybody."
Bernal and Faulconer emphasized that they'll "agree to disagree" on issues if Bernal is elected.
Their choice of "the color purple" in neckties was meant to send a message that common-ground values should outweigh red-versus-blue partisan politics.
“I believe it's about progress,” Bernal said, “about making sure that we continue to build our neighborhoods, invest in our neighborhood infrastructure, rebuild our water, our stormwater system.”
In the aftermath of their announcement, Bernal's rival Chris Ward, chief of staff for state Senator Marty Block, met the media in Hillcrest, backed by a posse of big-name Democrats and union executives.
Their message is that Bernal's financial support is coming from conservative and special interests that are "out of the mainstream" of District 3 constituents.
“I am really proud of my endorsements by people like Christine Kehoe and Toni Atkins, of David Alvarez and Donna Frye, of the Sierra Club, and many of our hard-working men and women at the City of San Diego."
The LGBT community is troubled by an $1,100 contribution to Bernal's campaign by developer Douglas Manchester -- who donated $125,000 to the polarizing Prop. 8 campaign.
Bernal said he disagrees with Manchester on marriage equality.
But as a businessman with downtown properties in the district, Bernal explained, Manchester "has a voice in that."