Adams does think it will be difficult for Bidwell to win. “I’m not aware of any person winning the mayoralty of a big city without substantial campaign funds. It’s even extremely rare for council seats in big cities.”
Former councilmember Floyd Morrow, who’s also running for mayor, suggests that Bidwell’s life experience could compensate for his lack of education or political expertise. “I do think education is crucial, but one of the things that he might have a very good education in, if he had been homeless, is common sense, and that’s an education in its own right,” Morrow says. “There are people who are degreed that really don’t have an ounce of common sense on the street. That type of education is very valuable. I was born in a tent, dirt poor, so I kind of identify with a young guy like that.”
When asked if Bidwell’s lack of knowledge regarding local politics might be a distraction for San Diego voters, Morrow responds, “I hope not. The issues of San Diego are the same for him as for me. I don’t think that any one of them is credentialed in the race, other than myself. I think that experience is the best teacher.”
Experience is one thing that Bidwell is gaining from this process. An issue early on was filling out campaign-finance paperwork, which requires a permanent address. “They told me that I could hire an attorney to seek ways of getting around it,” Bidwell says. “I found that pretty unhelpful, considering my current situation. I did contact the ACLU, and they said they couldn’t promise anything but would try, so for now, I just won’t fill out that one and not accept contributions totaling more than a thousand dollars.”
Of more concern are the mayoral forums. The most recent one, on April 3 at Rancho Peñasquitos, afforded Bidwell much-needed exposure. The following day in its coverage of the event, local online publication Voice of San Diego featured some of Bidwell’s comments and a photo of him, as well as a group shot showing Bidwell sitting between Jerry Sanders and Steve Francis. “The whole time I got a lot of laughs from the crowd,” says Bidwell. “A couple of the things, people just loved it, laughing and clapping. I did have to bust out laughing during some of the comments from them [Sanders and Francis], because they were going at each other pretty hard.”
As for Bidwell’s take on his two best-financed opponents, he says, “You know, Sanders, as much as he is a little typical, he really has a much better head on his shoulders and answers questions with a little less rhetoric. Francis, he kind of rubs me the wrong way.”
The next forum will be at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park on April 20. All candidates have agreed to participate.
Bidwell will continue to organize a “Revolutionary Potluck” in Old Town the first Saturday of every month. More information is available at revolutionarymayor.com.