Republican City Councilman Kevin Faulconer was elected mayor of San Diego Tuesday in a contest to replace Bob Filner, who resigned last August after more than a dozen women accused him of sexual harassment.
The victory makes Faulconer the only Republican to lead a major city in California, where Democrats control most offices, and San Diego the nation’s largest city with a Republican mayor.
With all precincts reporting at midnight Wednesday, Faulconer defeated Democratic Councilman David Alvarez 55% to 45%, a margin of 23,000 votes.
The councilmen were the top two candidates picked to replace Filner in a Nov. 19 special election, but neither won more than 50% of the vote, resulting in Tuesday’s runoff. The victory means Faulconer will finish the former mayor’s remaining 33-month term and face reelection in 2016.
Faulconer, 47, ran on his experience as the senior member of city council and fiscal reforms, including replacing pensions for new city employees with 401(k)-style retirement plans and freezing pensionable pay. A plan Alvarez opposed. The Republican also supports same-sex marriage and expanded after school programs.
Filner resigned last August after more than a dozen women, including veterans and other prominent women, came forward with sexual harassment allegations against the 70-year-old mayor. He pleaded guilty in October to one felony of false imprisonment and two misdemeanor counts of battery and is serving a three-month home confinement sentence.
The city announced Monday it would pay one of Filner’s accusers, his former communications director, Irene McCormack Jackson, $250,000 to settle her sexual harassment suit.
“We know that this city has gone through a lot in the last year, but we knew that as San Diegans that we were better than that and that we were going to come together when we had the opportunity to do that and come to together we have,” Faulconer said in a speech to supporters Tuesday night.
Alvarez tweeted late Tuesday he had conceded the race to Faulconer.
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