The special election to replace outgoing Mayor Bob Filner will cost roughly $6 million and could force city leaders to tap reserves or make budget cuts in order to pay for it. The City Council voted unanimously Wednesday to set the special election for Nov. 19 as the city charter gave the panel zero wiggle room to choose a less-costly option. The voter-approved charter requires a special election if a mayor resigns with more than one year left on his term. Filner, who took office in December, has more than three years remaining on his term. If Filner had less than a year remaining, the council would have appointed a successor. Filner is scheduled to resign at 5 p.m. Friday in response to lurid allegations of inappropriate sexual behavior and unwanted advances toward nearly 20 women. The council accepted his signed resignation letter last week which allowed them to call a special election before he officially exits office.
City Clerk Liz Maland said the rough cost estimate for the coming election is between $5.9 million and $6.2 million although the expense would soar higher if a runoff is required. The final cost figure depends largely on how many polling precincts and poll workers will be required throughout the city. The city has $1.8 million in this year’s budget for elections and thus will need to find the rest of the money to fund the election from elsewhere in its $1.2 billion operating budget.
Several high-profile candidates are mulling a run and it’s likely that a crowded field would prevent anyone from receiving a majority of the vote to win outright. That would necessitate a runoff between the top two candidates within 49 days under city law.
Maland said there may be problems with trying to meet that deadline because of conflicting laws.
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