San Diego mayoral hopeful considers Latino turnout a determining factor

San Diego, Nov 14 (EFE).- David Alvarez, the only Hispanic candidate for mayor of San Diego, said in an interview with Efe that a big Latino turnout for the Nov. 19 elections will be a determining factor in tipping the balance in his favor.

"If people go to vote, we believe very firmly that we're going to emerge with the win," the city councilman said.

Alvarez, who represents a district adjacent to the Mexican border, has been running a campaign that has been gaining significant momentum in recent weeks. At the beginning of the contest, he was in third place in the polls and today some surveys put him in second place.

According to a survey conducted by Garin-Hart-Yang, Republican Kevin Faulconer is in first place with 34 percent of the vote, followed by Alvarez with 22 percent and former state Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher with 21 percent.

The second place slot will be crucial in next Tuesday's elections since the race looks likely to go to a runoff, set for mid-February.

"We've identified our voters, we know who they are, we have a lot of confidence that if those individuals go out to vote we're going to be among the top two" vote-getters, Alvarez said.

If he wins, the 33-year-old son of Mexican immigrants would be the first Latino mayor of San Diego and also the youngest in the past 120 years.

Alvarez said that the support of his volunteers and his closeness to the public were decisive in getting undecided voters to say they were throwing their support to him.

"As a San Diego native, the son of immigrants, working all my life for the community, people are responding to that message," he said.

Alvarez will close out his campaign the same way he began it weeks ago: making phone calls, going door to door and attending community forums to remind the public of the importance of voting, whether by sending in an absentee ballot or knowing where their precinct is and showing up at the polls.

His campaign has received important backing from local unions, the Democratic Party organization and respected former City Councilwoman Donna Frye.

The election is being held to select a successor for Democratic Bob Filner, who resigned in mid-August when he became involved in a sexual harassment scandal.