SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Former Democratic Assemblywoman Lori Saldana backed out of the San Diego mayor's race Wednesday and threw her support behind Councilman David Alvarez.
The area's progressive leaders attempted to draft Saldana for the Nov. 19 special election to finish the term of Bob Filner, who resigned in disgrace last month. She filed papers signaling her intent to run, but her campaign stalled when Alvarez gained the endorsement of the San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council, an umbrella group that represents unions in the region.
Alvarez is in his third year on City Council, representing Barrio Logan and South San Diego neighborhoods.
Also Wednesday, the Neighborhood Market Association endorsed former Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher for mayor. The association represents 500 independent retailers.
On Monday, Fletcher gained backing from the California Small Business Association.
He is also supported by several individual unions, including those representing the city of San Diego's white collar workers, firefighters and lifeguards. He has also been endorsed by Union Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 230 and the Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters.
Councilman Kevin Faulconer, a Republican who represents the city's beach areas and Point Loma, has been endorsed by the San Diego Hotel-Motel Association and the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, which is led by CEO Jerry Sanders, Filner's predecessor in the mayor's office.
Filner resigned in disgrace Aug. 30, with more than three years left on his four-year term. If no one candidate receives the majority of the votes Nov. 19, a runoff between the top two vote-getters will be held.
The first debate is scheduled for Friday afternoon, hosted by the Asian Business Association of San Diego.
A spokesman for the organizers said former City Attorney Mike Aguirre will attend, along with Alvarez and Faulconer, and that Fletcher declined to participate.
The debate is scheduled for 3:15 p.m. at the Westin Gaslamp Quarter hotel.