SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - Some notable people who many were expecting to run for mayor have chosen not to participate in the special election. So why aren't these prominent names in local politics campaigning for the city's top job?

Todd Gloria isn't running, and neither is Carl DeMaio. Ron Roberts is out, along with Donna Frye and Toni Atkins. Suddenly San Diego's mayor opening seems to be the job nobody wants.

Former Mayor Jerry Sanders doesn't blame them.

"You know, people always ask 'Did you have a great time doing it?' and I said no. It's not supposed to be fun," Sanders said.

Sanders says it was rewarding, but as Gloria is finding out, following former mayor Filner isn't much fun.

"Bob Filner left a mess. The problems are serious. They're substantial and there are many of them," Gloria said.

"This race is going to be about perception. Who do you want to have as your mayor after a Bob Filner?" News 8 political analyst Carl Luna said.

Luna says that's where Carl DeMaio runs into trouble.

"DeMaio's biggest liability is the fact that he has a lot of strong negatives. People know him and a lot of people don't like him. He doesn't come across as a particularly cuddly person," he said.

DeMaio and Gloria figured to be among the front-runners. Luna thinks Gloria will make a run for the city's top spot, eventually.

"He's probably decided that it's better to develop his brand for a couple of cycles than one or two elections depending on who wins the mayorship before he throws his hat in the ring for mayor or runs for state assembly," Luna said.

Potential candidates have until September 20 to qualify for the ballot, so it's possible we could still have some big names enter the race. And if we don't?

"One of the interesting things of this narrowing down quickly to a two-man race is there's a possibility somebody gets a majority in the first round and we don't have to go to a run-off election. San Diego may get a new mayor by Christmas," Luna said.

A new mayor who's going to have a tough job, and that's coming from someone who knows all about it firsthand.

"It's much nicer watching from the outside looking in," Sanders said.

The special election is scheduled for November 19, and will cost taxpayers about $6 million. If no candidate gets at least 50 percent of the vote, a run-off election between the top two vote-getters will be held early in 2014.

Now that Gloria and DeMaio are definitely out, several other names have started surfacing as possible candidates, including Councilman David Alvarez and former assemblywoman Lori Saldana.