The Engaged Voter's Guide to the Mayoral Election, Version 2.0 - Voice of San Diego

David Alvarez

The Engaged Voter's Guide to the Mayoral Election, Version 2.0

We’ve got a handy last-minute primer on the mayor’s race.

Tuesday marks the 165th day that San Diego has been without a permanent mayor.

It’s also the day you’ll have a chance to help select a new one.

Still wavering? We’ve got a helpful guide to the mayor’s race complete with plenty of details and links.

The contenders are David Alvarez and Kevin Faulconer, two City Councilmen with vastly different visions for the future of San Diego.

Check out our simple scorecard on the candidates’ views on major city issues, plus our overview of some of their mayoral plans.

We’ve also got a handy chart detailing each candidate’s top endorsements.

Now, more on Alvarez and Faulconer …

David Alvarez

Alvarez is from Barrio Logan and was partly inspired to go into politics by his experience growing up next to a chrome plating shop that emitted fumes into his yard. After a fateful field trip that included a stop in his own neighborhood, Alvarez attended his first community meeting.

Two decades later, Alvarez is a three-year City Councilman representing the community he grew up in. Alvarez likes to say that he started talking about neighborhood needs before they got lots of play during the Filner administration, and that he’ll be a champion for neighborhoods if he’s elected mayor.

Alvarez’s most high-profile legislative accomplishments include an ordinance aimed to force banks to take responsibility for foreclosed properties and a last-minute deal he brokered on a community plan update for his childhood neighborhood.

Alvarez has received major support from state and national Democrats and if elected, he’d be the city’s first Latino mayor.

We described five things Alvarez has pushed while on the City Council, and teamed up with our media partner NBC 7 on a video explainer.

For a more detailed primer, see our reader’s guide to Alvarez.

Kevin Faulconer

Faulconer is the city’s most veteran City Councilman and was elected in early 2006 after the controversial ouster of another Council member. That election – as well as the current special election, which followed ex-Mayor Bob Filner’s implosion –  are both examples of a common theme in Faulconer’s political career. He’s repeatedly won elections after the previous office-holder fell from grace.

Faulconer has pushed a handful of city ballot measures in eight years on the City Council. He is a Republican but promises to bring a steady, moderate approach to the mayor’s office – similar to former Mayor Jerry Sanders but with a greater focus on neighborhoods.

Faulconer’s most high-profile accomplishments include his work on a permanent alcohol ban at city beaches and a pension reform initiative that relied on a five-year pensionable pay freeze for city staffers to save roughly $1 billion over 30 years.

Faulconer’s top backers include business groups and Republicans across the state, the latter of which view his Election Day performance as a bellwether for conservative politics in the state.

We explained five things Faulconer has worked on as a City Councilman, and put together a video guide with NBC 7.

For a more detailed primer, check out our reader’s guide to Faulconer.

OK, ready to vote now?

You can check out this link to find out where to vote. Polls open at 7 a.m. Tuesday and close at 8 p.m.

The county Registrar of Voters plans to reveal mail ballot tallies shortly after the polls close. Results will be posted online at and via the City Clerk’s Twitter account. The county expects to issue updated counts every 30 minutes starting at about 10 p.m. and hopes to make its final posting at 1 a.m.


It’s often said that candidates race to the middle ahead of a general election after displaying more partisan chops in the primary.

This election hasn’t played out that way.

Faulconer has consistently portrayed himself as a moderate and tried to distance himself from the GOP brand in an effort to draw out Democrats and independents as well as Republicans. He’ll need their votes to become San Diego’s next mayor.

Alvarez, meanwhile, has emphasized his progressive bona fides in an effort to coax the city’s Democratic voter majority to the polls. If many of them turn out on Tuesday – a difficult proposition in a special election – Alvarez will win.

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