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When looking at Nathan Fletcher's run for mayor, one has to wonder if this was all part of a master plan.

One week, polls showed him at the back of the pack, with a slim chance of making it through the June 5 primary. The next week, Fletcher announced that he was abandoning the Republican party and registering as an independent. He quickly became one of the top stories in the local and national media: New York Times columnist David Brooks wrote a glowing portrayal of him, and he appeared on MSNBC and CNN, retelling his reasons for jumping ship on the GOP.

"In so many ways what you see in today's political world is an environment that isn't focused on solving problems, it's how do you preserve them to campaign on them. Politics have devolved to a point that I feel like is just a game," Fletcher told guest-host Michael Smerconish in an April 2 interview on MSNBC's Hardball.

And now, just under two weeks since his appearance, a new SurveyUSA poll paid for by 10News shows Fletcher has moved from second-to-last to second place in polls, only a few points behind city councilmember Carl DeMaio.

Whether his decision to leave the GOP was just a strategic move — as some of his critics have claimed — is merely speculation. What isn't, however, is the strategy that Fletcher and his campaign has employed after the announcement.

Just five days later, as the national media spotlight dimmed, Fletcher began lighting up San Diego's five largest television stations, purchasing hundreds of television spots.

In all, according to public files we obtained, Fletcher's campaign spent $110,676.75 on television ads from April 2 through April 15. Out of the four major candidates, Fletcher was the only one to purchase time on any of the major networks in town.

This round of ads will cease running on April 15.

--KNSD NBC contract --KGTV ABC contract --KUSI contract --FOX5 contract --CBS contract totaled $36,231.25

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Comments

Visduh April 14, 2012 @ 8:24 p.m.

So politics is just a game, huh Nate? So you are playing it as a game, and right now you have the money to play it better than your opponents. The proof will come when the others start buying TV ads to counter yours and to get their names and mugs in front of the voters. BTW, I'm still skeptical of those poll results. His decision to announce he was leaving the GOP was a very calculated move, it seemed born of desperation, but may have been planned for a long time. How else do you account for all the immediate national attention given to an otherwise also-ran local candidate for mayor in this backwater. I mean, when have the national media ever paid attention to San Diego? There is something rotten in Denmark (i.e. San Diego) with this whole picture.

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mridolf April 15, 2012 @ 6:15 a.m.

What's rotten about these actions? I, (and a heck of a lot of other San Diegans) like them. Does the departure bother you more if it had been in the planning for a long time, or if it was last minute decision? Doesn't matter either way to the undecided voters. The other major candidates just seem to be playing to their same ol' base, and hoping that base will carry them beyond the primary. I know now that Fletcher has a good chance of being one of the top two winners in the primary. San Diego has so many independent voters. Democratic leaning voters now have someone to vote for beyond Filner, who frankly does not project well as a mayor. And Republican leaners now have a pragmatic alternative to an abrasive candidate who seems more negative than positive. I mean, honestly, party regulars (Democrat or Republican) had to hold their noses to cast a vote for either DeMaio or Filner. Now there's a legitimate 3rd option. It's not a rotten smell that's attracting the attention outside the city. It's the fresh air. Calculated or not, His signs are popping up all over the city (not Demaio's, or Filner's, Or Dumanis'). His candidacy now has a real grass roots feel to it. But unlike Ron Paul, he's running in a contest that's supposed to be non-partisan. As you point out, time will tell.

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