At long last, San Diegans have chosen a new mayor: Kevin Faulconer. The 47 year old is a Republican councilman with a Bachelor’s degree in political science. He was sworn in to office in early March and is set to serve the almost three years left in the previous mayor’s term.
In the special election on Feb. 11, Faulconer garnered 54.5 percent of the vote, while his opponent, David Alvarez, received only 45.5 percent.
Faulconer cemented in higher turnout among the Republican-leaning precincts that vastly outperformed comparable Democratic precincts.
During his campaign, Faulconer promised to make improvements in the police department, like increasing take-home pay for officers and investing in equipment, and has pledged to improve the SDPD and make it “transparent and accountable.”
Faulconer additionally aims to create a department in charge of city projects, with 50 percent of new city revenue to those projects, and wants to create 2,500 summer jobs for at-risk youths. Faulconer has also pledged to reduce the costs of doing business in San Diego, and to work with federal officials in order to reduce border wait times.
Those who backed Faulconer during his campaign consider him to be one of San Diego’s most friendly politicians and say he will offer a measured and calm approach to things. His supporters have also said he has a “strong pro-business record coupled with fiscal prudence and respect toward his political opponents.”
However, Faulconer’s critics say he has spent a great deal of his political career behind other prominent Republicans and has only just asserted himself as a leader at City Hall. Some have said they think he is “beholden to Republican power brokers.”
At the Grant Hotel, surrounded by his supporters, Faulconer took to the podium on election night to address his strong lead in the polls.
“Together we sent a very strong message tonight: That this city needs to have an independent leader and that the city will stand up and work together; [that San Diego needs to] have a mayor that will strongly continue the reforms that you, the voters, voted for,” Faulconer said. “That every San Diegan has chance at success, and has a seat at the table.”