SAN DIEGO -- Port of San Diego Commissioner Scott Peters picked up a major endorsement for his congressional campaign Tuesday, while his opponent accused him of helping to start the city of San Diego's financial mess and called on him to apologize for his votes.
The endorsement for Peters came from independent Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, who ran for San Diego mayor and stirred the pot earlier this year by leaving the Republican Party, but he failed to make the runoff.
Fletcher said Peters, who is hoping to unseat incumbent Rep. Brian Bilbray, R-Solana Beach, "is smart, capable, has the right experience, is in it for the right reasons, and he's a good man.''
"Congressional dysfunction is at an all-time high because of hyper partisanship,'' Fletcher said. "We need a leader like Scott who cares more about results than rhetoric.''
According to the Peters' campaign, registration in the redesigned 52nd Congressional District is split in thirds between Democrats, Republicans and independents. A campaign statement said Peters hopes the endorsement will help him obtain the crossover votes necessary to win in the November election.
Democrats have targeted Bilbray for years, but believe this year is their best chance because redistricting radically changed the area he represents, from mostly coastal to primarily inland.
Bilbray's campaign issued a statement asking Peters to apologize for his votes in 2002 when, as a city councilman, the panel underfunded the pension system and approved bond sales that turned out to be based on fraudulent disclosures.
"Scott Peters left San Diego's pension system with a $1.4 billion deficit and put hard-working taxpayers on the hook to pay for this fraudulent activity,'' Bilbray said.
He said the votes left Peters unworthy of becoming a member of Congress.
MaryAnne Pintar, communications director for the Peters campaign, said Bilbray was focusing on a vote that happened a decade ago. Peters regrets the votes and subsequently worked to solve the problem that was created, she said.