Republican leads in San Diego's race to succeed disgraced ex-mayor, Bob Filner
| Feb 12th 2014 | 2 min read
San Diego Republican mayoral candidate Kevin Faulconer walks to a polling station to vote in Carlifornia, 11th February (Photo: Reuters)
SAN DIEGO: A Democrat seeking to become San Diego's first Hispanic mayor was trailing his Republican rival on Tuesday in their race to succeed ex-Mayor Bob Filner, who resigned amid a hail of sexual misconduct allegations, early election results showed.
Voters in California's second-most populous city appeared headed for a return to Republican leadership as City Councilman Kevin Faulconer opened a lead of nearly 10 percentage points against Democrat David Alvarez, with ballots from 63 percent of precincts counted.
Public opinion polls going into the Tuesday's election showed the race was too close to call, giving Faulconer, backed by the city's downtown establishment, a razor-thin edge and showing 7 percent of voters still undecided.
The winner will succeed the disgraced former mayor who resigned at the end of August after a string of women, starting with his then-press secretary Irene McCormack Jackson, came forward with allegations of sexual harassment.
Nearly 20 women eventually came forward to publicly accuse Filner, a former U.S. congressman, of making unwanted advances and other inappropriate behavior during his brief tenure as the first Democratic mayor of San Diego.
Faulconer, 47, emerged as the front-runner in an initial field of 11 candidates who ran to replace Filner in November. But he failed to garner the simple majority needed then to win outright, setting the stage for Tuesday's runoff with Alvarez, 33, who had narrowly clinched second place.
Three hours after polls closed Tuesday night, neither candidate was claiming victory or conceding defeat.
To supporters, Faulconer represents the center-right that was long the political pedigree of mayors in San Diego, which has traditionally tended to lean conservative, in part because of its large military and retired military presence.
The 2012 election of Filner, a liberal Democrat, was considered a political turning point.
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