With all precincts reporting, Filner had 51.5 percent of the vote, compared to 48.5 for DeMaio, with about 10,000 votes separating the two candidates out of more than 320,000 cast.
“People in this city have realized that I am on their side and this city has got to change,” Filner told supporters Tuesday night while votes were still being tallied. “This city has changed demographically, it has changed business-wise, it has changed — the kind of people and the way they look at the world.”
The city’s political structure has not kept up, the congressman said.
DeMaio based his campaign on continuing economic changes started under termed-out Mayor Jerry Sanders, who gave the councilman his backing. Filner said he would oversee a change of political power from what he called “downtown special interests” to the neighborhoods.
The councilman and congressman emerged from a field of four major candidates in the June 5 primary, with both collecting nearly one-third of the vote. They ousted District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis and Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, who left the Republican Party to become an independent in a highly publicized move.
Filner is the first Democrat elected mayor of San Diego since Maureen O’Connor in 1988.
If he had won, DeMaio would have become the first openly gay Republican mayor of a large U.S. city.
Filner, who will be San Diego’s 35th mayor, is scheduled to be inaugurated Dec. 3 at Golden Hall.