Decision 2014: With Fletcher out, labor consolidates behind Alvarez

With the primary over, and the runoff a few months away, Labor is struggling to find unity among its ranks. That will be essential if David Alvarez is to become San Diego's first Latino mayor.

Already there are signs the healing process has begun to mend fences. Nathan Fletcher came out today endorsing Alvarez, and labor leaders are talking.

The Labor Council's Richard Barrera says they will be united, they know what's at stake, and they want a truly progressive mayor. “David has been talking to a lot of folks who have been backing Nathan, we've had unions that are backing Nathan that have already reached out and we're starting discussions.”

The split in labor occurred when Lorena Gonzalez broke tradition, and jumped ahead of the labor council by endorsing Nathan Fletcher. That was a no-no, and drew harsh criticism because the council endorsed Alvarez.

Today, political consultant Chris Crotty says Lorena is back in the fold. “Lorena is absolutely gonna be there with David, doing everything that she can.”

According to Crotty, the runoff election will be a repeat of last night with the possibility of a lower voter turnout. He gave the Faulconer campaign good marks for staying on message, reaching out to mail ballot voters, and getting out the vote despite a 90,000 voter registration disadvantage.

And he says Alvarez also did an excellent job of getting out the vote. “He needs to build on that, with (the) Republicans and Independents that Nathan Fletcher pulled, and bring them back home to vote for the Democratic party.”

But it's easier said than done – it all hinges on turnout. “David Alvarez needs a higher percentage of Democrats to turn out in the runoff than turned out yesterday in the primary election to win the race.”

Senior policy analyst Vince Vasquez at the Institute for Policy Research says 42% of the electorate is brand new, unaware of the politics or battles at City Hall. He says both Alvarez and Faulconer are likeable candidates, but to convince these new voters that they can take care of the city, they need to sharpen their games.

“I think both in that respect have an equal opportunity to reach out to voters who never cast a ballot,” says Vasquez. “It's a transformation both of them will have to make, for Alvarez maybe a little more polish… for Kevin its really continuing to reach across the aisle.”

As to the labor split: they will unify because its in their best interest to elect David Alvarez. But it will be an uphill battle.

Steve Bosh

Categories: KUSI