If they can't be mayor of San Diego, maybe races for county supervisor will work out, keeping two well-known San Diego politicos in the good financial graces of La Jolla Democratic billionaire Irwin Jacobs.
Jacobs-backed Nathan Fletcher, long said to be mulling a 2018 bid for the District 4 seat of termed-out county supervisor Ron Roberts, has been raising his public profile of late by tweeting from Switzerland. The World Economic Forum, of which the Jacobs co-founded Qualcomm is a "strategic partner," per the event's website, is being held in Davos.
Meanwhile, San Diego city councilman David Alvarez, whose second-place finish in 2013's mayoral contest relegated fellow Democrat Fletcher to third, has just disclosed a putative try for the District 1 seat of termed-out GOP county supervisor Greg Cox, with a new political fundraising committee called David Alvarez for Supervisor 2020, filed January 11 with the county Registrar of Voters.
Nathan Fletcher and Lorena Gonzalez
Newly married to high-profile Democratic assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, Fletcher, an ex-Republican member of the Assembly who became an independent and then a Democrat as he twice struggled to get elected San Diego mayor, has yet to declare his future political intentions.
Word on the street has it that Jacobs and his sons, regular seekers of governmental favor, are prepared to bankroll yet another run for Fletcher, who became a Qualcomm executive after leaving the Assembly in late 2012.
The elder Jacobs — whose most recent local political foray involved an undisclosed private summit with Republican mayor Kevin Faulconer in pursuit of a Balboa Park road and parking bulldozing plan, followed by a torrent of political money to the mayor's reelection fund from Qualcomm executives — is said to see himself as a political kingmaker despite disappointment over Hillary Clinton's presidential loss to Donald Trump.
Hillary Clinton, Irwin and Joan Jacobs
Had Clinton been victorious, insiders say, Fletcher's political fortunes would likely have been bolstered by White House appearances and other presidential dispensations courtesy of Jacobs, a heavy funder of Clinton’s White House ambitions. Now Fletcher's prospects are cloudier, but whether the Clinton setback is fatal to his political career remains to be seen.
Alvarez, who was the choice of big labor over Fletcher and Faulconer in 2013's mayoral joust, has since had a well-publicized falling out with controversial union leader Mickey Kasparian, who stands accused of sexual harassment by a former worker alleging he made "occasional demands for oral sex in his office [and] sexual intercourse in hotels paid for by Local 135, and similar sex acts."
The split caused Alvarez to turn to longtime GOP Lincoln Club member and fallen port commissioner David Malcolm for $10,000 to help pay for a battle with Kasparian over seats on the San Diego County Democratic Party Central Committee.
Fletcher's wife, Lorena Gonzalez, formerly secretary-treasurer and CEO of the Labor Council, who now goes by the name of Gonzalez Fletcher, endorsed Kasparian's slate in that battle.
For his part, Alvarez is a supporter of the controversial Jacobs Balboa Park road building plan, joining an 8-1 council majority to pass the project in November of last year.
As the Democrat begins his big-money supervisorial fundraising well ahead of the 2020 election cycle, city hall insiders are now looking to see if Jacobs and related Qualcomm sources chip in as generously for Alvarez as they have for the GOP’s Faulconer and other politicos backing their agenda.