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Rep. Bob Filner (D) reportedly told a crowd over the weekend that he is running for mayor of San Diego next year.
The former Freedom Rider spoke after a local screening of a film about the civil rights activists who challenged the segregation of public transportation and facilities in the South. A graduate student at San Diego State University reported the news over Twitter, and his tweets were picked up by local press.
Calls from Roll Call and local press to the Congressman’s office to confirm his intentions have so far gone unreturned. But local Democratic activists say the news is no surprise, as Filner has made no secret of his desire to run for mayor.
Before heading to Washington, D.C., Filner spent several years as an elected city politician, including four years on the school board and five years on the city council. He was first elected to Congress in 1992 and has easily won re-election ever since. A bid for mayor would open a safe Democratic seat and likely invite an onslaught of contenders, though the district will change some in redistricting.
Democratic strategist Lucas O’Connor wrote on the Two Cathedrals blog that Filner’s entrance is important “because we haven’t had two full-strength sides engaged in a city-wide debate in a number of years” and that Filner “has the experience and personal campaign infrastructure to overcome existing deficiencies that have hamstrung previous efforts at a full-scale, two-sided debate about the issues that face this city.”