What is Bonnie Dumanis doing by skipping the mayoral debates?

by on August 24, 2011 · 7 comments

in Civil Rights

By Phat Jim / San Diego Politico / August 22, 2011

What in the Sam Hell. . .

To those of you out there who are more closely intertwined with politics than I am these days, I have one question – what in the sam hell is Bonnie Dumanis doing? It looks like Dumanis and DeMaio are both skipping the mayoral debates between now and Oct. 17.

Now traditionally, the old view in politics is that the only activities a candidate should do during a campaign is talking to voters and talking to donors. Any time spent talking to people who won’t vote for you, or give you money is wasted time. But that mindset is usually for later stages of the campaign. Right now, voters aren’t really going to make up their minds, so the only thing to do is focus on endorsements, donor credibility and pumping up name ID. Debates help all three.

That is, unless you already have all three. For Carl DeMaio, who has strong name ID, a loyal base of contributors and more than enough endorsements, showing up to a debate would be a bad idea. What if Filner humiliates DeMaio? What if DeMaio says or does the wrong thing? In politics, and particularly for front-runners (and DeMaio is the de facto frontrunner at this point), no publicity is better than bad publicity. There is no upside for DeMaio.

But Dumanis is riding in an entirely different kind of boat. She has not raised the $300-500k that DeMaio and Fletcher have; her name ID is good, but not great; and, her centrist position is seriously damaged by having Fletcher and Filner in the race (who hit her from the right and the left). In other words, Dumanis is a “frontrunner” who has a diminishing base, lacks funds, and little name ID. Having the opportunity to spar with Fletcher and Filner, who are the cause of her woes, seems like a no-brainer.

So, with that said, I have three theories:

 1) Dumanis deathly afraid of debates: This is the least likely, as Dumanis isn’t just an attorney, but she’s a litigator. We litigators debate everything, and will debate anywhere. You know where I’ve had the most debates in my career as a litigator? In my office, with my co-workers. Dumanis maybe the DA, but she’s a litigator at heart.

 2) Dumanis thinks her position is stronger than it is: Ah, self-delusion, the true mother’s milk of politics. It is possible that Dumanis and her political team think that Dumanis is in a DeMaio-like position? The short answer is yes. But Dumanis’ people are too smart to think this way. Unless you’ve been running for mayor for the past four years (DeMaio), they have to know that any polling at this point is very, very soft, and vote and money erosion is likely.

 3) Dumanis is thinking of dropping out: There have been reports that Dumanis is thinking of dropping out. While I don’t think this is likely, it is possible that Dumanis now realizes that this is going to be a much tougher race than she previously thought, and is planning on dropping out. If that’s the case, then it makes sense to not debate because why through good money after bad? Or, she could be laying low to see how the numbers shake out in the next fundraising cycle.

 With all that said, I don’t have my ears to the ground, so I have no idea what is going to happen.



{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar doug porter August 24, 2011 at 10:46 am

I say Dumanis is on the way out.
It hasn’t been a good year for her backer Irwin Jacobs: the “School Reform” initiative he backed flopped, his plans for Balboa Park are under fire and he opted to back back Bonnie. As far as I can see it’s (Dumanis withdrawing) just a matter of figuring out a way to bow out gracefully and save a little face.
Of course if she does show her face, she’ll be haunted by the pro-med-pot people, who have taken her stances personally and are likely to be disruptive.


avatar OB Mercy August 24, 2011 at 10:32 pm

I agree and only hope you’re right Doug.


avatar Social Justice Advocate August 27, 2011 at 8:20 pm

It is just a matter of time before Bonnie bows out-either graciously or not. She thought that she would just be handed the Mayor’s job on a silver platter-courtesy of outgoing Mayor Saunders, but as Doug mentioned, the medical marijuana crowd had other ideas.
I am not saying they are the whole reason why Bonnie might be reconsidering running, but I can tell you that all her RICH FRIENDS, WELL-HEELED CRONIES, & MONEYBAG PATRONS looked AGHAST when the NOT DUMAMIS picketers and protesters disrupted her little Electra Building fund-raiser. I was there and saw it with my own eyes.
Rich people who bribe corrupt D.A.’s like Bonnie to do their bidding don’t like a bunch of trouble-makers in their face.

If her dropping out of the race means anything good in San Diego, other than she would have made a TERRIBLE MAYOR, just know that it is not WISE to underestimate the righteous powers of a bunch of true-believing medical marijuana activists!


avatar OB Mercy August 28, 2011 at 9:44 am

Right on!! In 2006, she shut down all the dispensaries in SD, taking away legal prescriptions from patients who needed it. Then, 2 yrs ago, the dispensaries popped back up when there was enough outcry over the legalities of doing such a heinous deed. I’ve only lived here 3 yrs and couldn’t believe when I came down here from Los Angeles and realized I had to have my prescription delivered because the brick and mortar stores had been closed down by her. I’ve told people not to vote for her for quite a few years now. I hope she does disappear off the SD radar, for the good of all the people.


avatar Ashley in OB August 27, 2011 at 11:07 pm

I have my ear very closely to the ground. Why DeMaio and Dumanis will not debate right now:
1. It’s TOO EARLY!!! Not everyone is in yet plus right now, all the candidates should be talking to the public to see what issues they are facing. Any person who can tell me that he has spent the past couple of months with a FULL Time government job and has been able to put that together I would have to think they are not doing their job.
2. This is about Voice of San Diego trying very hard to mainstream by using local candidates to help them grow name recognition
3. Who really knows the issues that will face San Diego as the election is closer. Why would you pigeon hold your position so early in the race? We as the electoral should be cautions of anyone one who wants to debate now.. It is all about them not about us at this point.
I promise everyone’s choice for mayor will change a few times over the coming months. I believe let’s get through the end of the year and start thinking about debates at that point we will have 5 months. Right now let us watch them do their jobs and campaign.


avatar Sharon Kramer August 28, 2011 at 8:20 am

Hi Ashley,

You write, “Not everyone is in yet….” Are there some who are anticipated to run who have not declared their candidacy, yet?


avatar Terrie Best August 28, 2011 at 7:32 pm

Bonnie Dumanis’ culture of corruption must end. Vote no on Dumanis, don’t let her be rewarded for the tyranny she wields from her DA seat on medical cannabis patients.
Join Not Dumanis on Facebook today.


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