Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 10, 2016

Carl DeMaio for San Diego Mayor? #CA52

Filner has not resigned yet. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

As pressure mounts for San Diego Mayor Bob Filner to resign after a string of sexual harassment allegations from former female employees, so does the speculation about who might seek his office in the case of a special or recall election.

California Republicans could have someone in mind: Carl DeMaio, currently a GOP candidate for Congress.

Filner, a Democrat and former member of Congress from California’s 51st District, is being sued by his former communications director, Irene McCormack, for alleged sexual harassment in the workplace. A handful of others have anonymously accused Filner of harassment.

On Friday, Filner announced that he will take time off to receive therapy, rather than resign, after calls for him to step down from numerous Democratic officials, including Democratic National Committeewoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz. But growing discord with Filner in the wake of the sexual harassment suit has also opened up the very real possibility of a recall election to remove the first-term mayor from office.

The looming question for Republicans is whether DeMaio, currently running against freshman Rep. Scott Peters, D-Calif., in the 52nd District, would pivot to a potential mayoral special or recall election instead.

DeMaio, an openly gay politician who bills himself as a “new generation Republican,” ran against Filner in the 2012 mayoral race and lost by a 5-point margin. Previously, DeMaio served as a city councilmember from 2008 to 2012.

But DeMaio’s camp declined to comment on whether he has any interest in another bid for mayor.

“We don’t respond to hypotheticals,” DeMaio spokeswoman Jennifer Jacobs said on Friday. “There is no indication Filner will resign, so there is nothing to answer.”

DeMaio remains one of the House GOP’s top recruits in a competitive district. He has picked up the support of House GOP leadership, including House Majority Leader Eric Cantor.

Plugged-in California Republicans operatives believe DeMaio will stay in the House race. But, as Filner’s position proves, the future of San Diego’s top job is uncertain.

“Anything could happen. He might be weighing it,” one California GOP operative said Friday afternoon. “But the rumblings we hear are that DeMaio is firmly committed to running against Peters.”

  • Arthur Saget

    Isnt there anyone out there who wants to be Mayor of San Diego?

  • mjfromlj

    Rest assured Carl DeMaio will run for Mayor of San Diego the
    minute it becomes open. The only people advising him not to are his self-serving political
    consultants who would rather get paid for two elections next year rather than
    one this year and then get paid every two years to re-elect him in an expensive
    congressional race rather than every four as mayor. The reason DeMaio is saying
    he’s still in the congressional race is so he can raise money in Washington for
    his congressional race that he can subsequently convert to the mayoral race the
    minute it is announced. This war chest coming out of the gate gives him a huge fundraising
    advantage in a short recall or special election campaign. He’s smart enough to
    know that in the last mayoral election he received more than enough votes to
    win a recall election. These people voted for him once already. Plus he’s
    better suited to be the mayor of America’s eighth largest city and guide it out
    its current mess than he is to try to stand out as one of 435 people with a
    collective approval rating of 15%.

  • Arthur Saget

    Could not agree more. And he would take office at least a year sooner. I think Carl will do the right thing. And I will vote for Carl again.

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