The allegations intensified over four months. One-time allies became accusers. A recall campaign collected all the signatures it needed. And Matt Heslin, the vice president of finance for San Diego State University’s student government in 1988, resigned under the pressure. He admitted he had lied on official documents about where he got the wood for his campaign signs.
“I owe the whole issue to myself,” Heslin told student reporters.
The spoils of Heslin’s demise were left to a tall, affable, 21-year-old fraternity brother named Kevin Faulconer. He had lost a previous bid for SDSU’s student government, but this special election gave him another chance. Faulconer won, almost doubling the votes of his nearest opponent.
This story of a long-ago student government flap would seem unremarkable if it didn’t start a pattern that has carried through Faulconer’s political career: Faulconer loses or bows out of a campaign. Someone in office blows up. Faulconer becomes a leading candidate in the special election that follows.