09/30/2013 07:52 am ET

San Diego May Get Its First Latino Mayor

Bob Filner won last year’s mayoral contest with overwhelming support from Latinos who often chanted “Sí se puede” (Yes we can) at his campaign stops, which led Filner — who is white — to jokingly boast that he would be San Diego’s first Latino mayor.

With Filner resigning because of a sexual harassment scandal, city voters now have the opportunity to actually elect their first Latino mayor with City Councilman David Alvarez and former City Attorney Mike Aguirre among the top contenders. Each would represent the first nonwhite San Diego mayor to be elected since California became a U.S. state in 1850.

The importance of the Latino vote in the Nov. 19 special election can’t be overstated given how influential it was for Filner’s victory and Alvarez may be the candidate best positioned to take advantage of the political sea change. The young Democrat’s parents immigrated from Mexico, he grew up in Barrio Logan and he currently represents many of the city’s minority-rich southern neighborhoods.

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