Group of local business leaders announce endorsement for DeMaio - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Group of local business leaders announce endorsement for DeMaio

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A group of San Diego business leaders endorsed Councilman Carl DeMaio for mayor Wednesday, while a voter survey on the spat over a water fight at Balboa Park showed a lead for his opponent, Rep. Bob Filner, D-San Diego.

Among the 18 people who endorsed DeMaio via a group statement were Phil Blair, president and CEO of Manpower San Diego; Steve Cushman, a longtime businessman and member of the San Diego Convention Center Board of Directors; former Cox San Diego chief Bill Geppert; Lani Lutar, executive director of the San Diego County Taxpayers Association; and Kris Michell, head of the Downtown San Diego Partnership.

Their group statement said the race features "two very different candidates with different visions and philosophies," making it a clear choice for them.

"Carl's pragmatic approach to analyzing issues and taking decisive action to find solutions is key to San Diego's success," the statement says.

"Carl is committed to continuing to move San Diego forward both in finishing the job of reforming City Hall, promoting a vibrant economy and enhancing our quality of life."

Filner, who has partially based his campaign on shifting political power from downtown interests to neighborhoods, showed a lead in a poll conducted by SurveyUSA for a local TV news station, in which 700 respondents were asked their opinions regarding the weekend water fight and resulting political fallout.

The final question asked the 282 people who indicated they were aware of bickering between the candidates on the issue whether they had changed which candidate they supported. Of that group, less than half of the original sample, 37 percent, backed Filner before the water fight and still do after the subsequent squabbling. DeMaio maintained the support of 30 percent.

The poll, released Tuesday night, showed that 15 percent switched their support from Filner to DeMaio, while 9 percent went the other direction. That gives the congressman a total of 46 percent and the councilman 45 percent, within the margin of error of 6 percent.

Filner contends that DeMaio's partner, Johnathan Hale, promoted the event on the website of his publication, San Diego Gay and Lesbian News. A snippet on the water fight - which resulted in extensive damage to the 97-year-old lilly pond at Balboa Park - was published in an article about various weekend happenings.

DeMaio said Hale was not behind the debacle and slammed Filner for what he characterized as a personal attack.

Half of the respondents said the water fight issue would not have an impact on their vote.

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