Last week, Republican City Councilman Carl DeMaio made a big announcement that the majority of a new group of independent business leaders had decided to back his mayoral run.
The group, Movement to the Middle, formed last spring after Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher left the Republican Party to become an independent. The business leaders left their political parties as well and created the organization, which endorsed Fletcher. The assemblyman finished third in June’s mayoral primary.
DeMaio used the Movement to the Middle endorsements in a continuing effort to show that he, rather than Democratic opponent Bob Filner, was making bipartisan inroads.
Here’s how DeMaio’s campaign described the group in a press release:
Movement to the Middle is a grassroots coalition of business and community leaders who want constructive, pragmatic leaders who want an end to the relentless divisiveness and bitter partisan battles that have caused gridlock in government.
And here’s what DeMaio himself said about the group last week during an interview with Fox 5 San Diego:
I’m pleased to get their support. They felt so strongly that the two-party system was broken that they literally in the spring left their parties and said, ‘We gotta start reaching across the aisle and working together.'”
These descriptions were, uh, just slightly different than what DeMaio said when the organization endorsed Fletcher in April.
DeMaio’s campaign in a press release called Movement to the Middle a “front group” of “wealthy downtown insiders” who were Fletcher’s “millionaire campaign backers.”
“I think the question is not why are a bunch of millionaire backers joining their hand-picked Mayoral candidate in an election year ploy,” DeMaio said in the release. “Didn’t we all see that coming?”
I asked DeMaio spokesman, K.B. Forbes, about the change. He said that since the primary the Movement to the Middle had moved to DeMaio:
Carl was not their hand-picked choice, but since the primary, the majority of Movement to the Middle leaders have realized Carl has a balanced approach to working with all sides. A key to Carl’s balanced approach is to set aside past differences or disagreements, and work together to find solutions in a bipartisan way.
Liam Dillon is a news reporter for Voice of San Diego. He covers San Diego City Hall, the 2012 mayor’s race and big building projects. What should he write about next?
Please contact him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or 619.550.5663.
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