When this special election first began, and while several candidates had announced their intent to run, David Alvarez was contemplating his chances of becoming the next mayor of San Diego. Kevin Faulconer and Nathan Fletcher were in the race and considered the frontrunners.
But when Alvarez made his decision, he was decisive and went to work, campaigning for the office. Money was not to be a problem for him with the Labor Council putting their full support behind his campaign, not only with their money, but equally important, with hundreds of union volunteers campaigning on his behalf.
Alvarez’ problem was that with a relatively short time on the city council, he was not well known outside of his district. Alvarez had to reach the voters in Point Loma, Linda Vista, Mira Mesa, La Jolla. Not an easy task in such a short period of time!
A couple of things worked in favor of Alvarez. The most important was that this race was never about winning but about coming in second, beating Nathan Fletcher to the runoff. Fletcher was an enigma, switching political parties twice in the last year. Still he was perceived as potentially the tougher of the two candidates who would eventually face the Republican Faulconer. Fletcher ended up being attacked by Faulconer and the Republicans and also by Alvarez and the Unions. In short order Fletcher started slipping in the polls to the point that come election day the race for second place was seen as dead even.
The second thing in Alvarez’ favor was the Union support. With their support, he had a political machine in place with a solid and experienced volunteer network. His need to spend a lot of effort fundraising turned into a symbollic gesture as the Unions provided all the money that he would need.
The rest, as they say, is history. Alvarez beat Fletcher by over 2600 votes and made it into the runoff. Faulconer won the primary with 89000 or 44% of the vote.
For Fletcher, his political future took a big hit with a second third place finish in the last two mayoral races. Also taking a big hit was Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez who was his biggest supporter, hoping to use her political influence to put Fletcher over the top. Also taking a hit were the other Hispanic elected leaders who followed Gonzalez’ lead, their credibility took a hit with their support of Fletcher.
For the Hispanic community, Alvarez is an inspiration, represents hope, he is the future, and is one step away from becoming the first Hispanic mayor of San Diego.
Kevin Faulconer and the Republican Party set their sights on Fletcher to get him out of the race, thinking that David Alvarez would be the easier candidate to run against. Faulconer got his wish, but it could be a wish that he could end up regretting.