Matt Potter 3:39 p.m., Dec. 18
Mayoral battle joined as billionaire Jacobs goes for Fletcher
$1000 likely first volley in cash war between George Soros Democrat Jacobs and Koch brothers-linked Republican publisher and hotel mogul Manchester
With a thousand dollar contribution to Nathan Fletcher, Qualcomm founder Irwin Jacobs has finally made it official:
Two super rich, aging white men from La Jolla are mustering their big money and media influence in a political death battle to choose San Diego's next mayor.
The head-to-head clash between Democrat Jacobs and his GOP nemesis Douglas Manchester has been long in coming. Last year, Jacobs backed Manchester's champion, Carl DeMaio, for mayor. Though a self-styled conservative Republican, DeMaio backed the Jacobs plan to make over Balboa Park with new roads and a huge parking garage.
Democrat Bob Filner won that race, but was taken down by a sexual harassment scandal after a brief mayoral career of taking on the local powers that be, including Manchester and his fellow hotel magnates.
Now, in the do-over, Manchester has embraced GOP city councilman Kevin Faulconer, chosen by the party after DeMaio decided to stick to his congressional race against Democrat Scott Peters; Jacobs has come out for newly minted Democrat Nathan Fletcher, the Qualcomm executive who used to be a Republican Assemblyman.
Judging by the rough stuff so far, it's not going to be pretty.
This past weekend, Manchester's mini media operation, U-T San Diego, tore into Fletcher in a sprawling editorial using phrases including "slick huckster vanity" and "gall to sell spasms of expedience as principled personal growth."
Yesterday, the Jacobs-funded Voice of San Diego non-profit online news and commentary web site went after Faulconer's wife Katherine Stuart for not paying her business taxes.
As previously reported, Manchester is not only using his newspaper, website, and Roger Hedgecock-featuring cable channel, to make his points for Faulconer.
Over the past month he's been routing cash through various political funds of the Republican party. In his most recent political gift, the political player who likes to be known as "Papa Doug," last week gave $100,000 to the state Republican Party.
For their part, Jacobs and his son Paul, Qualcomm's CEO, have been out pounding La Jolla's streets of gold for Fletcher campaign cash, which as previously reported has been rolling in from there, as well as from tony Rancho Santa Fe's 92067, one of America's wealthiest zip codes. Manchester's paper reported an independent expenditure committee for Fletcher is seeking to raise $3.6 million.
Locals are not the only ones with an interest in the clash of the two wealthy political titans.
Washington insiders say the race could be shaping up as a proxy war between super wealthy, George Soros-linked Democrats, led by major donor Jacobs, and the conservative Republican billionaire Koch brothers, reported by the Columbia Journalism Review to be tied to the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, a Virginia non-profit that has teamed with Manchester's U-T San Diego to produce editorials condemning liberals and their responsibility for the allegedly sad state of California's economy.
Whoever grabs control of city hall here may get national bragging and organizing rights for their respective agendas on labor, development, and other issues.
Making the big money mayoral contest yet more interesting is the candidacy of Democrat David Alvarez, the San Diego city councilman who has been endorsed by the county's labor council as well as the local Democratic Party here, and is expected to get a major financial push from unions.
Yesterday, the United Food and Commercial Workers Active Ballot Club reported contributing $50,000 to Working Families for a Better San Diego to Support David Alvarez for Mayor 2013, an independent expenditure committee backed by labor. The union's PAC gave the same.