Local Democratic Party leader Jess Durfee sent a stern warning to San Diego elected officials: Stop endorsing Republican candidates for San Diego mayor in 2012.

“I will do everything in my power to see that any Democratic elected official or candidate in the county who endorses a Republican for mayor will not receive the endorsement or support of the Democratic Party in the future,” Durfee wrote in a letter to local Democratic elected officials.

Durfee’s letter comes on the heels of Republican District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis’ announcement that influential local Democrats are supporting her mayoral bid, which sparked further angst over the party’s troubles winning San Diego’s top elected office. Two elected Democrats, Lemon Grove Mayor Mary Sessom and Solana Beach Councilman Dave Roberts, were on Dumanis’ list.

Durfee mentioned both by name in his letter.

Their decision to play Republican politics in a priority race for Democrats will not be forgotten by our Party leaders, volunteers, and voters throughout the county. We have not seen a Democrat on a general election ballot for this office in two decades. Now that we outnumber Republicans by nearly 50%, there is no excuse for us not to have a Democrat as the elected mayor of California’s second-largest city. Our expectation is simple: you should be supporting a Democrat in this race. If you can’t do that, then support no one at all.

Democratic Congressman Bob Filner has officially declared for the race and Democratic state Sen. Christine Kehoe is considering a bid.

In an interview, Sessom, who has run Lemon Grove since 1996, said she hadn’t seen Durfee’s letter.

“It’s a nonpartisan race,” Sessom said. “Why are we pulling partisan politics? That’s nuts.”

Sessom said she has known Dumanis since the 1980s and volunteered her support for her mayoral campaign. Sessom believes Dumanis’ management style makes her the best candidate.

She added she understands Durfee’s solidarity message, but that it doesn’t bother her.

“Frankly, what has the Democratic Party done for me in the last 10 years?” she said. “I would have to say nothing.”

Roberts, who was briefly a candidate for Republican Brian Bilbray’s congressional seat in the 2010 election, said he didn’t think Durfee’s letter would have any effect on his future plans. He received the letter Monday.

Roberts said he always chooses the candidate, not the party in nonpartisan races.

“I think a lot of people are disappointed to see the partisanship in a race like this, this early,” Roberts said.

He added that if Kehoe formally announced a bid, he would consider supporting her, too.

Durfee didn’t embellish much on his letter in an interview.

“It’s not unusual for the party to communicate to their folks just to keep them up to date on what’s going on and what their options are,” Durfee said.

Told that Sessom and Roberts said they endorsed Dumanis in part because the race was nonpartisan, Durfee replied, “If that’s the case, they’ll be running nonpartisan races without the support of the party.”

Durfee said he believed the local Republican Party would feel the same way about its elected officials endorsing Democrats.

Please contact Liam Dillon directly at liam.dillon@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.550.5663 and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/dillonliam.

    This article relates to: Election, Government, Mayor 2012, News
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    Written by Liam Dillon

    Liam Dillon is senior reporter and assistant editor for Voice of San Diego. He leads VOSD’s investigations and writes about how regular people interact with local government. What should he write about next? Please contact him directly at liam.dillon@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.550.5663.

    19 comments
    Don Wood
    Don Wood subscriber

    With redistricting and Prop 14 coming into play, it will be interesting to see just how relevant local political parties will be. They may lose their clout, leaving voters to do their own homework and vote their own minds, those that have minds..

    Don Wood
    Don Wood

    With redistricting and Prop 14 coming into play, it will be interesting to see just how relevant local political parties will be. They may lose their clout, leaving voters to do their own homework and vote their own minds, those that have minds..

    Joseph Wantland
    Joseph Wantland subscriber

    Wow! I can not believe some of these comments.. "I will always vote Democrat because I am a Democrat" urrrr or "Republican". People need start looking at their principle and values. Matching up with candidate closes to them. I believe in God. I believe in life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Saying that If a Man wants to be with a Man then he has that right. Here is the facts. Each party uses their constituents like useful idiots. Government should stay out of people lives. and Democrat before you say yea and right on. I also believe in Failure. The Government needs to stay out of business, health care, and education. Without failure you can not correct mistakes.

    HeyJoey
    HeyJoey

    Wow! I can not believe some of these comments.. "I will always vote Democrat because I am a Democrat" urrrr or "Republican". People need start looking at their principle and values. Matching up with candidate closes to them. I believe in God. I believe in life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Saying that If a Man wants to be with a Man then he has that right. Here is the facts. Each party uses their constituents like useful idiots. Government should stay out of people lives. and Democrat before you say yea and right on. I also believe in Failure. The Government needs to stay out of business, health care, and education. Without failure you can not correct mistakes.

    Frances O'Neill Zimmerman
    Frances O'Neill Zimmerman

    instead of just blandly quoting her remarks. Otherwise we might imagine the voice has an agenda!

    Kreg Harsha
    Kreg Harsha subscriber

    People get stuck on party affiliation rather what someone can bring to the table. People need to read the issue and vote on their merits and not because a party supports it. I refuse to be that blind sheep.

    sdquietguy
    sdquietguy

    People get stuck on party affiliation rather what someone can bring to the table. People need to read the issue and vote on their merits and not because a party supports it. I refuse to be that blind sheep.

    Charlie Williams
    Charlie Williams subscriber

    Wow, a true Democratic leader for a change one who is not afraid to spank the so-called Democrats holding public office whit party help. Its about time a good leader like Jess Durfee were heard to say "No More" free lunch. All this is necessary if we are to have a true Democratic Party with any true meaning of a party. I for one am tird of all the kissing up of Democrats to Republicans that has been going own for far too many years especially here in San Diego. Republicans laugh all the way to the bank all too often as they peel off so-called Democrats with party splitting intentions to greese their way to elected office. I say go Jess, go. Perhaps we can get Washington Democrats to do some of the same.

    Charlie W
    Charlie W

    Wow, a true Democratic leader for a change one who is not afraid to spank the so-called Democrats holding public office whit party help. Its about time a good leader like Jess Durfee were heard to say "No More" free lunch. All this is necessary if we are to have a true Democratic Party with any true meaning of a party. I for one am tird of all the kissing up of Democrats to Republicans that has been going own for far too many years especially here in San Diego. Republicans laugh all the way to the bank all too often as they peel off so-called Democrats with party splitting intentions to greese their way to elected office. I say go Jess, go. Perhaps we can get Washington Democrats to do some of the same.

    Bill Bradshaw
    Bill Bradshaw subscribermember

    As for the comments about Jerry Sanders, you've gotta be kidding.

    toulon
    toulon

    As for the comments about Jerry Sanders, you've gotta be kidding.

    John Kevin Smith
    John Kevin Smith subscriber

    This is a non-partisan election. Let's keep it that way.

    JKS
    JKS

    This is a non-partisan election. Let's keep it that way.

    Robert Castaneda
    Robert Castaneda subscriber

    I applaud Jess Durfee for this statement; he needed to do that in a manner that was unequivocal. "Loyalty" is the coin of the realm in politics - it translates into trust, and trust is the foundation of any working relationship in business or politics. I proudly proclaim my status as a Democrat; who has seen the world, this country, state and my city from both sides of the political spectrum and I want a political party that is united in addressing the issues that progressives care most about. Democrats cannot do that by leaving the reservation when personal agenda's or political favors are owed, and then collected.

    Castaneda
    Castaneda

    I applaud Jess Durfee for this statement; he needed to do that in a manner that was unequivocal. "Loyalty" is the coin of the realm in politics - it translates into trust, and trust is the foundation of any working relationship in business or politics. I proudly proclaim my status as a Democrat; who has seen the world, this country, state and my city from both sides of the political spectrum and I want a political party that is united in addressing the issues that progressives care most about. Democrats cannot do that by leaving the reservation when personal agenda's or political favors are owed, and then collected.

    John H Borja
    John H Borja subscriber

    While my previous comments seemed to pertain to national politics, the local Republicans are poisoned in a similar way. Jerry Sanders is an anomaly in Republican politics. More Republicans need to be like Jerry Sanders: people that want to DO good things for society, regardless of ideology. The far right leaning Republicans could never endorse a person like Sanders for higher office. And that's too bad. Because the American people deserve candidates not stuck on an ideology. The Republicans sided with the religious right and now we see how wrong they both were.

    kidscoach
    kidscoach

    While my previous comments seemed to pertain to national politics, the local Republicans are poisoned in a similar way. Jerry Sanders is an anomaly in Republican politics. More Republicans need to be like Jerry Sanders: people that want to DO good things for society, regardless of ideology. The far right leaning Republicans could never endorse a person like Sanders for higher office. And that's too bad. Because the American people deserve candidates not stuck on an ideology. The Republicans sided with the religious right and now we see how wrong they both were.

    John H Borja
    John H Borja subscriber

    This is why the Democrats will continue to host the come-as-you-are party.

    kidscoach
    kidscoach

    This is why the Democrats will continue to host the come-as-you-are party.

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