Wilson, Rove, Gingrich…and Fletcher

by Jess Durfee - Chair, San Diego County Democratic Party, San Diego Gay and Lesbian News

I’ve written previously here about the danger posed by Carl DeMaio, a Republican candidate for Mayor whose call to make our San Diego "the Wisconsin of the West" only hints at his extreme right-wing agenda.

DeMaio’s beliefs are ugly, but at least he espouses them more or less openly. We face a different kind of challenge in Nathan Fletcher, another mayoral contender whose defection from the Republican Party to become an "independent" has won him valuable media attention.

Voters who know the current Assemblymember only from his vague, feel-good campaign ads might be forgiven for not knowing about his long history as a partisan insider.

Fletcher began his political career working for the California Republican Party. He served as district director for Rep. "Duke" Cunningham prior to the congressman’s bribery conviction. He held a fundraiser featuring Karl Rove — a connection made through his wife, who was a senior campaign operative for George W. Bush.

In his 2008 campaign for Assembly, Fletcher courted and proudly promoted the endorsement of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. In the current mayoral race, he is being supported by likely Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

Having named former Gov. Pete Wilson as his political mentor, Fletcher has racked up a predictably Republican voting record, scoring low ratings in recent years from the Sierra Club Foundation (30%), Equality California (29%), the Consumer Federation of California (18%), and Planned Parenthood (0%). He remains a member of ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council), a think tank funded by the right-wing billionaire Koch Brothers.

Last month’s stunt was brilliantly opportunistic. But San Diego voters need to remember that Nathan Fletcher votes like a Republican, fundraises with Republicans, and holds up some of the most divisive conservative figures in the country as his political heroes. In other words, he’s about as "independent" as his buddy Karl Rove.