No one grows up dreaming of being the bridesmaid or vice president, but when results are tallied in the San Diego mayor's primary election Tuesday night, most eyes will be trained on the person who finishes second.
The voting will draw to a close the first phase of campaigning to determine the successor to Mayor Jerry Sanders.
Most polls indicate it is unlikely that Councilman Carl DeMaio, District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, Rep. Bob Filner, D-San Diego, or Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher will win more than 50 percent of the vote -- and take the office outright -- meaning the top two-vote getters would face off in the November general election.
DeMaio has led the field in most polls, but not by a wide margin. A 10News poll released Thursday showed DeMaio with 31 percent, Filner rising seven points to 28 percent, Fletcher with 23 percent and Dumanis 11 percent.
Another 7 percent preferred another candidate or were undecided. The margin of error was plus or minus 4.3 percent.
"This is such an important election for San Diego," DeMaio said at a recent debate. "It will determine whether we move forward and finish the job of fiscal reform, to fix our streets and restore our services -- to help create jobs in San Diego."
The alternative, he said, was to step back and let special interests regain control over City Hall.
Filner, as the only Democrat in the nonpartisan race, has gained support from labor unions and said he will fight for neighborhoods. His campaign is counting on his party having a registration advantage over the GOP.
Fletcher has been stressing his newfound independence after leaving the Republican Party. Dumanis, meanwhile, touts her experience as the head of a large government agency.
Filner said he is the most qualified candidate to ever run for mayor, considering his experience on the school board, City Council and 10 terms in Congress.
"So there is one candidate who knows how to deal with these issues, who knows where the money is in Washington, who knows how to solve problems," Filner said. "I saved more money for the city than Carl, I've got more experience than Bonnie, and I'm certainly more independent than Nathan."
Fletcher has served as the campaign's wildcard, going from the least- known of the candidates to strong contention for the general election ballot.
"I still believe that public office is public service, that we're there to unite people, to get things done, to make a real difference," Fletcher said.
According to Dumanis, the mayor's job is to be the CEO of a large government agency, which is what she is now as district attorney.
"It's different than being a legislator, it's different than being in the military, it's different than running a business," Dumanis said. "There are obstacles in government that make it more difficult -- I know how to do it, and I'll get it done."
A fifth candidate, Tobiah Pettus, is also listed on the ballot. Steven Greenwald and John "Woody" Woodrum are listed as write-in candidates.
-City News Service