- (Photo: Courtesy of Carl DeMaio for Mayor)
- (Photo: Courtesy of District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis)
San Diego’s mayoral race is featuring two openly gay candidates as leading contenders.
District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, 59, and City Councilman Carl DeMaio, 36, are openly gay but so far it has not been a big issue for voters because neither have made their sexual orientation a big talking point, according to The Associated Press.
The election will be held in about eight months.
DeMaio says nothing about being a homosexual on his candidate’s website. He does say, “Carl DeMaio is no stranger to adversity. Carl's mother passed away two weeks after his father abandoned the family. At age 14, Carl was taken in by Jesuits and given the opportunity to earn his way to Georgetown University.”
"I learned from a young age that no matter how bad things get, there is always a way to overcome any challenge," he says on his website.
Bonnie Dumanis also does not mention anything about being a lesbian, but media reports confirm the general population in San Diego is aware of her sexual orientation.
Her mayoral website does say, “Bonnie studied law at night and received her law degree from Thomas Jefferson School of Law in 1976. She went on to serve 12 years as a San Diego Deputy District Attorney, prosecuting murders, rapes, robberies, child abuse and sexual assault cases.”
According to the AP report, Dumanis has been involved in a long-term relationship with Denise Nelesen, a communications manager she married in 2008.
DeMaio has been in a gay relationship with Jonathan Hale, publisher of the San Diego Gay & Lesbian News.
The two homosexual candidates have a unique history of GOP politics, Donald Haider-Markel, professor of political science at Kansas University, told the AP.
He said the mayoral candidate situation is unique too because DeMaio and Dumanis could make San Diego the largest city in the U.S. to elect an openly gay GOP public office holder.
According to a recent San Diego mayoral survey conducted by Survey USA for KGTV/10News, Councilmember Carl DeMaio and Rep. Bob Filner are the two frontrunners in the race, each garnering 25 percent of the potential votes. Support for District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis came in at 16 percent, with 10 percent for Assembly member Nathan Fletcher.
Both Republican candidates appear to have very similar ideas on certain issues in San Diego.
According to his campaign, DeMaio spent more than 200 hours standing in front of San Diego shopping centers collecting signatures himself, and raised money and mobilized volunteers to carry out all aspects of the signature drive. His efforts paid off on Sept. 30, when he was on hand to submit 145,027 signatures to the City Clerk's Office in the hopes of qualifying his Comprehensive Pension Reform Ballot Measure.
Meanwhile, Dumanis continues to stack up endorsements from the “establishment” and other prominent community members. Iconic business leader and philanthropist Irwin Jacobs, the co-founder and former chairman of Qualcomm, recently endorsed her. Jacobs cited Dumanis’ experience as the main reason for his endorsement.
The California Narcotics Officers Association, Peace Officers of California and the California Code Enforcement Officers Association and other public service organizations also recently endorsed Dumanis, bringing the number of people who support her to about 10,000.
The AP reports that the San Diego mayoral race comes at a time when voters are more willing to elect gay politicians into office and the GOP shift focus from social issues to economic problems.
A Gallup poll in June found 67 percent of voters surveyed said they would elect a gay president, an increase of 12 percentage point compared to four years earlier.