Jason Roe is not new to San Diego. But after serving as an adviser to Mitt Romney, he seems to have dedicated himself to San Diego politics – most prominently to Mayor Kevin Faulconer and his future political fortunes.
Roe last year was the leader of the effort to force the minimum wage increase at the city of San Diego to a ballot referendum and he ended the year with a fascinating conflict with his one-time client, Carl DeMaio.
This year, though, Roe stepped up his public presence. If Mark Fabiani was the Voice of the Year, Roe was the anti-Fabiani. From his plank as the mayor’s political consultant, Roe arose as Faulconer’s quasi-spokesman to refute Fabiani’s narrative. Where the mayor and his staff must be professional and sophisticated, Roe is willing to throw punches.
His job above all seems to have been to make sure Faulconer gets re-elected and he has apparently succeeded. The only candidate running for mayor as a Democrat just dropped out and if a new challenger gives it a shot, he or she only has six months to somehow deny Faulconer more than 50 percent of the vote in June.
But Roe has also established the pre-eminent right-of-center political power network in San Diego. Revolvis consulting, the firm he and Duane Dichiara run (along with Roe’s wife and others), has a hand in most Republican campaigns locally.
Consultant Tom Shepard was once the undisputed mayor-maker in town, helping candidate after candidate reach the top political position in San Diego. Shepard also ran an influential lobbying group.
Now it’s Roe who represents and orchestrates the mayor’s political message outside of City Hall and he too had a lobbying effort, one that Fabiani highlighted and attacked as a conflict of interest when dispute got more intense. Roe sold the lobbying firm six months ago, though.
Roe recruited and is now running Encinitas Mayor Kristin Gaspar’s effort to unseat County Supervisor Dave Roberts. And Roe managed to get Denise Gitsham, a previously little-known local public affairs maven, named a “Young Gun” by the National Republican Congressional Committee, as she positions herself in a challenge against U.S. Rep. Scott Peters. Gitsham leapfrogged Jacquie Atkinson, another Republican hoping to oust Peters, for that boost.
Correction: This post originally said Roe had a lobbying firm but has been updated to show he and partners sold it.
This is part of our Voice of the Year package, profiling the people who drove the biggest conversations in San Diego this year.