A San Diego political figure shows up in the latest WikiLeaks emails — which have not been confirmed or denied by Hillary Clinton’s campaign as belonging to campaign Chairman John Podesta.
Former Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, a GOP rising star who became an independent and then a Democrat, wrote to Podesta in October 2015 about his experience running unsuccessfully for mayor of San Diego, according to the leak.
Fletcher’s attendance record in the Assembly was used to pummel him in his 2012 and 2013 mayoral runs. Fletcher was letting Podesta know what a liability that could be for Marco Rubio, then running for the Republican presidential nomination.
Fletcher seemed to be suggesting that the Clinton campaign could exploit Rubio’s attendance record to help eliminate him from contention — so Clinton would not have to run against him.
“Many people smarter than me disagree but I would not want to run against Marco Rubio in a general election,” Fletcher wrote.
Eventual GOP nominee Donald J. Trump ended up using the attendance attack on Rubio — winning a rare “mostly true” designation from PolitiFact.
Running for re-election to the Senate in Florida, Rubio is still facing that same attack.
According to the leak, Podesta forwarded Fletcher’s email to other aides, saying only, “Interesting.”
“Yeah, the other R’s are hitting this pretty hard,” replied Oren Shur, director of paid media for the Clinton campaign, adding, “do we have vulnerabilities here from (Clinton’s) Senate days or is this an open go-zone for us?”
Fletcher did not respond to a request for comment. Here’s his whole email:
We met briefly at the Clean Energy Summit in Las Vegas. I am a Marine Corps veteran and former California legislator who narrowly lost a campaign for San Diego Mayor. I am also a long time Clinton fan and supporter.
I wanted to send you an email to share an experience from my Mayoral campaign that could prove useful. Many people smarter than me disagree but I would not want to run against Marco Rubio in a general election. The issue of his missing votes has been raised. I had a similar problem when I was a legislator running for Mayor. Prior to the campaign, we actually assessed the potential damage from missing votes and were assured by others that it never resonated, they had tested, not to worry, etc.
However, my opponents used a slightly different approach. They claimed I didn’t show up to work. They outlined the government salary I received for not showing up to work. They very creatively (although not honestly) counted the days I missed in Sacramento even when there were no votes taking place to say I wasn’t there XX% of the days. We initially ignored the hits because I had always been rated the “hardest working” and “most effective” legislator, etc.
By the time we realized the damage done it was too late to respond. The other challenge is there isn’t a good response when you are an elected official. You are paid to do your job—not run for another office. People do resent that someone is getting a government paycheck (from them) and not showing up to do their job.
Just a suggestion based on my very painful experience.
Hope your well.
Fletcher came in third place in two runs for mayor, each time failing to advance to a runoff election.
In June 2012, Fletcher received 24 percent of the vote when Republican Carl DeMaio and Democrat Bob Filner each received more than 30 percent.
In November 2013, Fletcher again received 24 percent of the vote. Democrat David Alvarez received 27 percent, and Republican Kevin Faulconer received 42 percent.