The Bucks Start Here

— The fledgling Truman Association of San Diego, a group of centrist, pro-business Democrats vowing to vie with the local GOP's wealthy Lincoln Club in the busy arena of independent fund-raising and campaign spending, has picked its first candidate deemed worthy of support. She's Katherine Nakamura, an incumbent San Diego school board member running against Michael McSweeney, a high-ranking Republican whom some Democrats see as a future threat to Democratic city council aspirations. Elected four years ago after a rough-and-tumble campaign during which the Union-Tribune attacked her Republican opponent Jeff Lee by disclosing confidential military service documents apparently leaked to the paper by someone in the Pentagon, Nakamura was an ardent backer of ex-school superintendent Alan Bersin. That was until two years ago, when Lee's wife Mitz, along with two other newly elected board members and board incumbent John de Beck, made it clear they would send Bersin packing. Bersin, a nominal Democrat, now serves as Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's secretary of education.

Ironically enough, considering this year's Truman Association endorsement, Nakamura's first race was heavily backed by wealthy downtown Republicans, including real estate mogul Malin Burnham, who personally spent $20,000 on radio spots beating up on her opponent. Coincidentally, that's about the same amount that Truman Association cofounder Art Castanares, a political consultant and former top aide to ex-state senator Steve Peace, says his group is planning to come up with for Nakamura this year.

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