After an expected stint in the private sector, he could choose from an array of political options, including perhaps a bid for mayor of his hometown, Núñez said in an interview.
“I have deep roots in San Diego. I have a lot of friends there, and San Diegans have been great to me,” said Núñez, 41. “It's a city that has so much potential. With a strong leader, there is so much that could be done.”
Now, the U-T gives this quote most of its context, so who really knows if this is at all a real possibility. But even so, it's interesting to contemplate, as there seems to be plenty on both sides of the pro/con ledger to consider.
On the con side, Núñez left San Diego 20 years ago, and has spent his entire professional and political life based out of Los Angeles which would make him a carpetbagger of sorts despite being raised in San Diego. Also, in spite of many accomplishments during his tenure at Speaker, the past year particularly has seen a bitter and divisive series of battles with organized labor in the state over gaming compacts and health care. Finally, in a town that desperately needs to be "cleaned up" at city hall (still- thanks Mayor Sanders), Núñez has had several brushes with questionable-if-legal ethics probes. And four years from now, will there be some homegrown talent ready to step up to the Mayor's office that would better serve the strength of the party?
All that said, the San Diego Democratic Party is rather lacking candidates at the top. If Floyd Morrow is the highest-profile Democrat available to run against a Mayor with a spotty record, well, there's room for a heavyweight to get a few things done. And Núñez certainly knows how to organize and fundraise, two skills that you can never get enough of when rebuilding a party. Also, while there are some legitimate points of contention in his legislative record, better environmental standards, higher minimum wage, and other successes have come through under his watch. While it presumably wouldn't hurt that San Diego is a softer target than Los Angeles for a profile-boosting Mayoral gig, if it takes overpaying for an attendance-boosting free agent to re-legitimize the franchise that is Democratic Party in San Diego, it could be worth it.
Ultimately, I'm not sure who else I'm waiting or hoping for in the next mayor's race, so this is a possibility I'd at least be open to. There are a number of locals who have gotten off to promising starts, but that doesn't mean they'll keep going. And if there's a glut of mayoral candidates next time who didn't get to be, say, City Attorney this time around, it could be a tough field to crack if you don't have Núñez-level weight behind you. So heck, who knows? But given where things are in this city right now, I'm open to anything.