With the San Diego mayoral field now narrowed to two candidates, we’re hoping November will shape up as an election based on merit and issues, rather than personalities and mudslinging.
County Supervisor Ron Roberts and Superior Court Judge Dick Murphy will face off Nov. 7 after tallying the most votes in the March 7 primary. Roberts, of course, ran off and hid early on Super Tuesday, garnering nearly 26 percent of the vote.
Murphy, however, sweated it out on election night, finally switching leads for second place with banker Peter Q. Davis two days later as outstanding absentee ballots were counted. Murphy finally was declared the winner March 13, edging out Davis by some 170 or so votes.
Murphy’s low-key, grass-roots movement proved to be the biggest upset of the election, considering Davis ran a multimillion-dollar campaign that even in the pre-ballot polls showed him ahead of everyone , including Roberts. While we don’t mind using the old adage that money can’t buy an election, you can bet the next Peter Q. Davis or Darrell Issa is just around the corner.
Beyond their war chests, we have two candidates who bear some similarities. Both began their political careers under former mayor Pete Wilson and are former city councilmen who continued to serve in other governmental capacities. They both possess a solid working knowledge of San Diego politics, yet they are removed enough from city affairs to competently address the biggest issues confronting the city.
And both Roberts and Murphy want to be San Diego’s mayor.
Despite the sniping that took place last week between the two shortly after Murphy secured his nomination for the fall election, we’re predicting a campaign based on issues. These are two thoughtful, astute politicians who don’t need to stoop to name-calling to win an election.
We know what the hot-button topics are: The Chargers ticket guarantee and ballpark financing will, of course, be major campaign issues. But once the candidates’ positions are established, we hope Murphy and Roberts move on to other urgent subjects, such as revamping the city charter, redeveloping the Embarcadero, and addressing the proposal to dissolve Sandag to create a super-agency overseeing development throughout San Diego County.
Another issue they no doubt will face this fall is traffic. Despite voters’ short-term memory over approving two huge developments near Rancho Bernardo and Carmel Valley, they will be turning to Roberts or Murphy to solve their rush-hour woes.
It promises to be a solid, up-front campaign filled with issues. But voters will have to pay close attention; though it appears early on that both candidates parallel each other in their views and opinions, distinctions will arise.
The race is on; let the best man win.