San Diego mayor-elect’s win a boost to state GOP, experts say

San Diego's mayor-elect Kevin Faulconer speaks to a crowd of supporters during Tuesday's election.
San Diego’s mayor-elect Kevin Faulconer speaks to a crowd of supporters during Tuesday’s election.
(Lenny Ignelzi / Associated Press)

SAN DIEGO — As Mayor-elect Kevin Faulconer prepares to take power at City Hall, some are wondering what his easy victory over Democratic Councilman David Alvarez means for the statewide GOP.

Faulconer beat Alvarez 55% to 45%.

“Faulconer overnight goes from minority member of the City Council to the highest ranked and highest profile Republican in the state,” said Carl Luna, a political science professor at San Diego Mesa College.

Allan Hoffenblum, a former GOP strategist who now publishes the nonpartisan California Target Book, said Faulconer’s victory shows that Republicans can still win big races, “if they have the right candidate.” He noted Faulconer campaigned as a fiscal conservative who is moderate on social issues, including supporting gay marriage and abortion rights.


“If you want to elect more Republicans, make sure you have a candidate who is a good fit for the district instead of one who passes some ideological litmus test,” Hoffenblum said.

In San Diego, the election was yet another milestone in moving past the scandalous tenure of ex-Mayor Bob Filner. After a chaotic management style brought havoc to city government, Filner was forced to resign Aug. 30 amid accusations of sexual harassment.

In the Faulconer versus Alvarez election, voters were presented with two candidates known for civility and for being cooperative even with ideological opponents — in short, the opposite of Filner.

Both immediately pledged to work together despite any tough words spoken during the campaign.