9:22 a.m. November 12, 2004
SAN DIEGO - Councilwoman Donna Frye is holding onto a narrow lead in San Diego's mayoral race, according to tallies released today by the county Registrar of Voters.
Frye had 149,654 votes, or 34.78 percent as of 8 a.m. today, county officials said. However, only 123,762 of the write-in votes cast for Frye on Nov. 2 have been verified.
Incumbent Mayor Dick Murphy had 147,289 votes, or 34.23 percent, and Supervisor Ron Roberts had 133,301 votes, or 30.98 percent, county officials said.
The hotly contested city attorney's race also remained too close to call today. Michael Aguirre had 194,397 votes, or 50.27 percent compared to Leslie Devaney's 192,311 votes, or 49.73 percent. Election workers today will keep counting absentee and provisional ballots in San Diego's mayoral race, which has become the subject of federal and state lawsuits.
Both suits challenge Councilwoman Donna Frye's write-in candidacy. Frye said she will not comment on a federal suit filed yesterday until she has read it.
Plaintiffs Shan L. McDonald, Jerri Walters and Jennifer Cassidy allege a scheme to dilute votes that they contend should have gone to either Murphy or Roberts, the primary's top two vote-getters.
City Clerk Charles Abdelnour, County Registrar of Voters Sally McPherson and the city and county are named as defendants in the federal lawsuit.
The plaintiffs, who allege violations of the Constitution's First and 14th amendments, also contend Frye's write-in candidacy is invalid because the City Charter does not allow write-in candidates to run in a general election.
"By ignoring the Charter, the defendants' conduct has resulted in party factionalism and inflicted chaos upon the City's electoral scheme," the lawsuit states.
"There is no legitimate state policy which can justify the defendants' deliberate actions to breach the Charter," the suit states.
The lawsuit asks a judge either to nullify the general election and order a new election, or stop the certification of the election results and order a special election.
Business lawyer John Howard filed a state suit against Frye's candidacy on Tuesday.
Presiding Judge John Einhorn said yesterday that a retired judge will hear that lawsuit because all sitting Superior Court judges recused themselves from the case to avoid the appearance of bias, given that Murphy was a judge for 15 years before becoming mayor.