Josh Goodman is a former staff writer for GOVERNING..E-mail: email@example.com
The Union Tribune reported this morning that San Diego mayoral candidate Steve Francis has been outspending the incumbent mayor, Jerry Sanders, by a 4-1 margin in recent months. Francis has been using his personal wealth for T.V. ads, including his most recent one:
You can tell from the ad that Francis is stressing his outsider credentials and his independence.
What's interesting is that in the 2005 mayoral race Francis was the conservative candidate. He, not Sanders (both Republicans), won the endorsement of the San Diego County Republican Party.
In that race, it made sense for Francis to run to the right of Sanders, even though it didn't end up working. Donna Frye, a Democrat who is on the City Council, was also in the race, so he couldn't pick up votes to the left.
This time around, however, the only Democrat of note is Floyd Morrow, who served on the City Council -- in the 1970s. It's not clear that Morrow will mount a serious campaign. In the first round of voting on June 3, Sanders and Francis are the favorites to advance to the runoff (assuming Sanders doesn't top 50% and win outright).
As a result, Francis is trying to appeal across the political spectrum. He'll need the votes of Democrats (if not in the primary, then at least in the runoff). The question is whether voters' memories of the 2005 campaign will make that tougher to achieve.
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