First returns show DeMaio with small lead in mayor’s race

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SAN DIEGO — Councilman Carl DeMaio took a slim lead early Tuesday night over Rep. Bob Filner, D-San Diego, in the race to become mayor of San Diego.

According to the county Registrar of Voters Office, DeMaio led by 50.95 percent to 49.05 percent, with 16.5 percent of the vote counted.

The initial results reflect early voters and absentee ballots. County officials said the first significant batch of results from polling places probably would not be tallied until around 11 p.m.

DeMaio based his campaign on continuing economic reforms 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 calls “downtown special interests” to the neighborhoods.

They 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 hopes to become the first Democrat elected mayor of San Diego since Maureen O’Connor in 1988. DeMaio, if elected, would be the first openly gay Republican mayor of a large U.S. city.

The most recent poll, conducted last week by SurveyUSA on behalf of 10News, showed Filner ahead by 49 percent to 45 percent.

The winner, who will be San Diego’s 35th mayor, is scheduled to be inaugurated on Dec. 3 at Golden Hall.