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Republican Faulconer wins San Diego mayoral election: Did labor unions help?

Kevin Faulconer, his wife, and two children
Kevin Faulconer, his wife, and two children

Republican Kevin Faulconer is San Diego’s new mayor. “With 100 percent of the precincts counted, Faulconer had 137,296 votes, 54.53 percent, to 114,478, 45.47 percent for Alvarez,” reports San Diego’s CBS News in an updated report at 12:43 a.m. on Feb. 12, 2014.

Republican Kevin Faulconer is replacing the former Democratic Mayor Bob Filner whose sexual harassment lawsuit was settled on Monday with the San Diego City Council approving a $250,000 lump-sum payment to Bob Filner's ex-communications director, 57-year-old Irene McCormack Jackson. The payment will resolve all aspects of the litigation filed against Bob Filner.

The settlement came just one day before Tuesday’s new mayoral election in San Diego. San Diego’s former Democratic mayor, 71-year-old Bob Filner, had resigned on Aug. 30, 2013, after almost 20 women had accused him of inappropriate sexual behavior. Bob Filner is currently serving three months of house arrest after having pleaded guilty to felony false imprisonment and two misdemeanor counts of battery.

After Bob Filner’s resignation in August, Todd Gloria had acted as interim mayor in San Diego.

Kevin Faulconer, who is married and has two school-aged children, will complete the almost three years left of Bob Filner’s term as San Diego’s mayor. The 46-year-old newly elected mayor is expected to be sworn in on March 3.

While thanking his supporters on Tuesday night at the U.S. Grant Hotel in San Diego, Republican Kevin Faulconer made a memorable statement:

"Together, you have sent a very strong message - not only here in San Diego but throughout our region - that this city is going to have an independent leader, this city is going to stand up and work together to bring us all together. … So tonight, our message to every single San Diego neighborhood, we will invest where we need to help. We will get our city back on track on the services that San Diegans expect, and that they deserve."

Republican Kevin Faulconer’s Democratic opponent, 33-year-old David Alvarez, would have been San Diego’s first Latino mayor.

Even though David Alvarez had received last-minute endorsements from two other dominant Democrats, President Barack Obama and Gov. Jerry Brown, the support for Alvarez by organized labor unions – which was explicitly pointed out in campaigns by Kevin Faulconer supporters -- seems to have helped Republican Kevin Faulconer, not Democrat David Alvarez.

After winning the San Diego mayoral election, Kevin Faulconer has become the only Republican to lead a major city in California where Democrats hold all statewide offices, and San Diego has become the nation’s largest city with a Republican mayor.

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