Victory in the race for San Diego mayor, most inside observers predict, will come down to which candidate can raise the most money and deploy his cash most effectively. So far, GOP candidate Carl DeMaio seems best at the former, while Democratic congressman Bob Filner demonstrates an uncanny ability to accomplish the latter. But Filner is also attempting to encroach on DeMaio’s fundraising territory by courting some distinctly Republican-flavored donors. Take, for example, Nancy Chase, San Diego’s long-lasting political doyenne, who rose from a small job running the nascent Gaslamp Quarter Association way back in the 1970s to become Roger Hedgecock’s mayoral intimate and eventually the solid-waste queen, spokeswoman for the controversial Gregory Canyon Landfill, developed by her husband, the late Richard Chase.
According to city campaign filings, on May 24, Chase gave Filner $500, the maximum individual contribution permitted by law. These days Chase runs a PR and lobbying outfit by the name of Public Policy Partners, which boasts on its website that it is “a pro-business, bi-partisan firm with strong ties in the southern California region that brings together subject-matter experts best suited to meet each client’s public affairs and governmental relations.” Records show that the firm, which once lobbied at San Diego city hall for Gregory Canyon and Massachusetts alternative-energy company Competitive Power Ventures, is not currently active with the City. But Chase’s website showcases a long roster of well-heeled clients, including Gregory Canyon LLC, desalination plant builder Poseidon Resources, Beazer Homes, and Hewlett-Packard. “In addition, Ms. Chase is a highly proficient Campaign and Fundraising Consultant, enabling the election of valued Congress members, State Assembly and State Senate members, San Diego District Attorneys, Mayors and council members.” Whether Chase can enable the election of Filner remains to be seen; her contribution to the Democrat has already raised eyebrows in light of her previous affiliation with ex–Hedgecock aide Tom Shepard, the GOP political operative who managed the failed mayoral bid of self-proclaimed independent assemblyman Nathan Fletcher. And Nancy was not the only Chase to kick in. Peter Chase of Boulder, Colorado, also listed as working for Public Policy Partners, gave $500 to the Filner cause.