Whether settling past scores or anticipating future favorable votes from the county board of supervisors, a host of well-heeled special interests funded from outside county borders are pouring big money into the race to replace 4th District Republican Ron Roberts.
Latest to show its hand is the Lincoln Club of San Diego County, which is aiming to take out its longtime nemesis, ex-Republican, one-time independent, and current Democrat Nathan Fletcher, according to a May 15 filing with the registrar of voters.
On May 10, the GOP club funneled $40,000 to a political fund it runs called Job Creators for a Strong Economy, which four days later spent $26,848 on an anti-Fletcher hit piece, per its disclosure.
When Fletcher mounted his second losing effort for San Diego mayor back in October 2013, the club's series of attacks on his then-employer Qualcomm regarding Fletcher's alleged make-work executive gig drew a pained response the cell-phone chip firm's then-chairman Paul Jacobs.
"I was outraged to learn that the Lincoln Club of San Diego – a supposedly pro-business political group – would fund a political hit piece that unfairly and incorrectly attacks one of San Diego’s largest employers," blasted Jacobs.
"Is the Lincoln Club so desperate and out of constructive ideas that they are resorting to attacks on private employers, forsaking their supposed principles and lying to serve a political agenda?"
"I demand a full apology and a retraction of this slanderous attack on our company and its more than 13,000 local employees."
No apology was forthcoming, and Jacobs, who has since left the board of Qualcomm, founded by his father, soon gave up the battle.
By funneling its money through its so-called job creators committee, the Lincoln Club avoids direct disclosure of the cash behind its Fletcher attacks, but the club's separate fund filing yields a bevy of sources.
They include a total of $20,000 from New York City-based Rancho Guejito,the vast North County expanse of real estate owned by sprawl-minded Manhattan heiress Theodate Coates.
Martin Garrick, the ex-GOP Assemblyman, and San Diego county real estate guru best known for leading police on a chase into the Capitol garage before his drunk driving arrest in 2011, came up with $10,000, as did Mission Valley developer Tom Sudberry and the Sycuan gambling tribe.
Meanwhile, a labor union-financed, pro-Fletcher committee aiming its fire at rival Democrat Lori Saldaña picked up $15,000 on May 14 from the Sacramento-based California Medical Association Independent Expenditure Committee, which records show usually spends its money on state races.
That includes recently sinking $23,100 into an attack on the gubernatorial bid of Democratic state Treasurer John Chiang, a proponent of so-called single-payer health care that is bitterly opposed by the doctor and hospital-funded group. Saldaña has expressed support for single-payer proposals. Fletcher's wife, Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, is an Assembly Democrat. Additionally, Manhattan-based hotel workers union Unite Here came up with $50,000 for the Saldana attacks May 15, reports show.