Late Tuesday night on the West Coast, Republican city councilman Kevin Faulconer was elected mayor of San Diego, where he’ll instantly become one of the most significant Republican mayors in the United States.
With Faulconer in office, San Diego is now the largest city in the U.S. with a Republican as mayor. It is the eighth-largest city in the U.S.
Faulconer beat Democratic councilman David Alvarez in Tuesday’s special election. The election was necessary after the resignation of the scandal-plagued Democrat Bob Filner, who resigned amid multiple allegations of sexual harassment.
Faulconer will also be the only Republican to lead a major California city. All statewide offices in California are controlled by Democrats.
The Republican National Committee touted Faulconer’s victory as one that could provide a model for Republicans in largely Democratic areas.
“The RNC was proud to work with the California Republican Party to help them implement our new national strategy of precinct-based organising and targeting low propensity voters,” RNC Chair Reince Priebus said in a statement. “We were able to provide them with a data-driven playbook to guide their turnout strategy, and Hispanic engagement staff talked with voters in precincts where the county party and local candidates hadn’t been in a long time.”
Priebus noted that Faulconer had picked up endorsements from President Barack Obama and California Gov. Jerry Brown (D), to no avail.
“Nationwide, Republicans have made a commitment to grow our party in urban areas and in states Democrats take for granted,” he said.
“Kevin’s victory shows that commitment is paying off. We will take the lessons learned from this race and apply them in races up-and-down the ballot this year. If President Obama and Governor Brown can’t convince voters to support a Democrat in a large city in California, the Democrats’ prospects for November don’t look good.”
Filner was sentenced to three months of home confinement and three years of probation in December.
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