Mayor Faulconer declines participation in race for California governor
SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — The California Republican Party is struggling to find a viable candidate for governor as election politics heats up for the mid-terms in 2018.
The party was lobbying hard to get Mayor Kevin Faulconer to enter the race, but last Friday in a Facebook post, the Mayor has said he will not be running.
There are several reasons for not running, including Republican registration is shrinking, the Democrats are in total control of the state and a Republican hasn’t won a statewide office in the past decade.
Mayor Faulconer was seen as the GOP’s strongest candidate because he’s a fiscal conservative and a social moderate who could help Republicans in down ballot races.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy tried his best to convince Faulconer to run and State Party Leader Jim Brulte did the same in a face to face visit to San Diego.
"They were lobbying hard because it was in their best interests because this is really the only, I hate to say it, but one of the only shining start in the Republican party," said Political Consultant, John Dadian.
But on his Facebook page last week, the mayor said he’s staying put.
He wrote, "I made a pledge last year to serve out my term as Mayor and that’s exactly what I’m going to do. I look forward to getting even more done over the next four years."
There’s little question the Mayor has far better credentials than any other Republican no-names who are running, but he just doesn’t see a path to victory, even if he could come in second in the primary because Republican registration is at a paltry 19 percent in the state.
"When it got into the general, he’d have a hard time just because of the structure of the state, the structure of the campaign," Dadian said.
And Republican donors are skeptical about investing in a race knowing they’re likely to lose.
The Mayor’s accomplishments as a Republican in a deep blue state are the reasons he was being recruited to run. He got the Majority Democrats on the council to sign off on his neighborhoods first agenda and was re-elected handily to a second term.
He got Comic-Con to stay in the city for another three years, he expanded San Diegos’ trade with Canada and strengthened ties with Mexico.
On the downside, critics said he hasn’t done enough about homelessness and street conditions. The council delayed his Convention Center expansion and SoccerCity, which he endorsed, all of which could hurt him politically.
"Clearly he put a lot of his reputation on the line and if that doesn’t come to fruition because he did personally endorse that and did push that," Dadian said.
The Mayor said he was deeply honored that so many strongly encouraged him to run, but said he’ll stay as Mayor til his term is up in 2020.