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Just how close did Carl DeMaio come to abandoning his run for congress in hopes of becoming San Diego's next mayor?

Campaign documents show he was testing the waters when he used his Reform San Diego committee to commission an exploratory poll one month before Bob Filner announced his resignation.

His intentions were especially apparent considering the former councilmember and congressional candidate enlisted the help of GOP-friendly treasurer, April Boling, to find out if the poll from Reform San Diego violated any election laws.

According to emails from Ethics Commissioner Stacey Fulhorst obtained through a public records request from the Reader's Matt Potter, the poll could have posed a problem for DeMaio.

"Reform San Diego may pay for a purely exploratory poll," Fulhorst wrote to Boling on July 30, just eight days after Filner's communications director Irene McCormack Jackson filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against her former boss.

"In the event that Carl became a candidate in the recall, his mayoral committee would have to reimburse Reform San Diego for all the costs associated with the poll. (Because Carl is the principal of Reform San Diego, he clearly has access to the polling data.) Reform San Diego may not pay for a poll that contains any type of advocacy, including listing Carl's qualifications for office.

"Such expenditures would essentially constitute an unlawful in-kind contribution from a committee/organization to a City candidate."

The poll must have had some level of advocacy for DeMaio because on September 6, he filed papers with the City Clerk's Office showing he, not Reform San Diego, would be footing the bill.

The group listed on the recent disclosure was from "Carl DeMaio for Mayor 2013 Research Expense Settlement Fund.


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