Former City Councilman Carl DeMaio and onetime Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher have the most public support among prospective San Diego mayoral candidates, according to a poll released Monday.
DeMaio was the candidate of choice among 18 percent of the 513 likely voters polled over the weekend, followed by Fletcher with 16 percent, according to SurveyUSA, which conducted the poll on behalf of U-T San Diego and 10News.
Fletcher has filed initial paperwork with the City Clerk's Office to run for mayor. DeMaio is weighing whether to break off a planned congressional run against Rep. Scott Peters, D-San Diego, next year in order to finish the rest of Bob Filner's mayoral term.
DeMaio narrowly lost to Filner, whose resignation becomes effective at 5 p.m. Friday, in last November's runoff election. Fletcher, now an executive at Qualcomm, gained nearly a quarter of the votes in the June primary election but failed to make the runoff.
Former Councilwoman Donna Frye, among a group of three former Filner allies who were the first to call on him to resign over sexual harassment allegations, was supported by 14 percent of those polled, but she does not plan to run.
Marti Emerald, one of the last two City Council members to call on Filner to resign, received 10 percent; council President Todd Gloria, who will be interim mayor until after the special election and has not decided whether to run, got 9 percent; with 6 percent in support of Kevin Faulconer, the senior member of the City Council, and Jan Goldsmith, who is also not planning to run.
Others with a small amount of backing were former Councilwoman and state Sen. Christine Kehoe, county Supervisor Ron Roberts and ex-Councilwoman and current Assembly Majority Leader Toni Atkins. Kehoe and Atkins have announced they will not run.
The City Council will consider at its Wednesday meeting when to schedule a special election, which must be held within 90 days. The City Clerk's Office has proposed the election be held Nov. 19, which means candidates would have to file by Sept. 20.
If no candidate gets more than 50 percent of the vote in the special election, a runoff would be held between the top two vote-getters.
Filner agreed to resign after the City Council approved a deal that provides him with legal representation in a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by his former communications aide, Irene McCormack Jackson.
As part of that deal, the city will provide a joint legal defense with the mayor against claims made against him by city employees or contractors, but the city reserves the right to seek reimbursement for any damages it suffers. Filner will also be permitted to hire his own lawyer, according to the city attorney.
Although he apologized, the 70-year-old former Democratic congressman last Friday blamed a "lynch mob mentality" for leading to his demise and insisted that he "never sexually harassed anyone."
Filner is also mired investigations into his alleged misuse of a city- issued credit card and shakedowns of developers.
He is the third mayor of San Diego in recent times to resign amid scandal, following Roger Hedgecock and Dick Murphy. Filner left Congress to become mayor less than nine months ago.
-City News Service