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Executives with one of the city's biggest and most influential lobbying and public affairs outfits have thrown their financial muscle behind the San Diego mayoral candidacy of Republican city councilman Carl DeMaio, according to the firm's second-quarter lobbyist disclosure filing, posted online yesterday by the city clerk's office.

Two principals of Southwest Strategies, company founder Alan Ziegaus and top honcho A. Christopher Wahl, each gave the DeMaio effort a $500 individual contribution in late June.

The pair also gave $250 each to the GOP city council bid of insurance salesman Scott Sherman, who beat Democrat Mat Kostrinsky outright to win the city's 7th district council seat.

(Clint Carney, another Southwest Strategies lobbyist, gave Kostrinsky $200, the report shows.)

Southwest also reported receiving $6,000 from Donahue Schriber to lobby Zapf, Democratic councilmembers David Alvarez and Sherri Lightner, and nine council staffers about a project at the "southwest corner of Del Mar Heights Road and El Camino Real in Carmel Valley."

Another $100 came from the Palomar Card Club, which has been fighting to amend the city's card room restrictions. Zieguas lobbied 3rd district staffer Steve Hill in that regard.

Palomar has also been battling state gambling enforcers.

According to a report in this morning's U-T San Diego, Southwest Strategies has picked up a new client in the form of Fox Sports San Diego, which is enmeshed in a controversy over the unavailability of Padres games on local cable TV.

“Their goal is to start gathering people to be included on a message sent to Time Warner about this coalition being built," U-T San Diego columnist Matt Hall quotes a Padres fan as saying. "They also plan on coming up with a name for the coalition, starting a website, having a news conference, having me go on FSSD programming, etc.”

Last month Democratic congressman Bob Filner, who is running against DeMaio for mayor, showed up at a Hall-sponsored rally regarding the Padres blackout and claimed cable interests had "bought off" city hall.

Our subsequent review of campaign disclosure records regarding political contributions by the local cable lobby is here.

Several former lobbyists at Southwest Strategies now have influential positions in local government, including Jonathan Heller, an ex-UT reporter and present media aide to GOP city attorney Jan Goldsmith, and Bernie Rhinerson, the firm’s co-founder, who is currently chief of staff at the San Diego Unified School District and candidate for a spot on the San Diego community college board.

We have a call in to Southwest’s Ziegaus, a former reporter with the now-defunct San Diego Evening Tribune, with a request for more details about the Fox deal.

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