Nathan Fletcher files for divorce

Fairy-tale political marriage on the rocks, documents show

Mindy Tucker and Nathan Fletcher
  • Mindy Tucker and Nathan Fletcher

It was San Diego’s fairy-tale political union of a war-torn decade.

"President George Bush gave his blessing to the recent engagement of Nathan Fletcher, who heads Rep. Duke Cunningham's San Diego district office, to Mindy Tucker, Republican National Committee communications director," reported Diane Bell in her March 1, 2003, Union-Tribune column.

"Bush phoned Tucker, who served as his press secretary when he was governor of Texas, to personally congratulate the couple this week," noted Bell.

"She'll be relocating from Washington, D.C., to San Diego, but not until after Fletcher, a U.S. Marine reservist, finds out if — and when — he is headed to the Middle East."

On October 14, 2004, Bell checked in on the couple's status: "Nathan Fletcher, Duke Cunningham's district chief of staff and a Marine reservist, has returned safely from Iraq after a seven-month tour of duty, much to the relief of his bride, Mindy Tucker Fletcher."

Added Bell, "She came to California from the Republican National Committee to marry Nathan last year — only weeks before he got his military orders. But as Nathan returned home, his wife was packing for Florida to campaign for George Bush this month. Nathan plans to return to his job at Cunningham's office late this year or early next year."

Then a Republican like his wife, Fletcher won a seat in the state Assembly and a bright future seemed in store when he decided to run for mayor of San Diego in 2012.

Fletcher family photo

Fletcher family photo

He, Mindy, and their two young adopted children put in repeated appearances on television news shows and at campaign events, reinforcing the couple's all-American image.

But Fletcher's political enemies, including U-T San Diego publisher Douglas Manchester, who backed Republican city councilman Carl DeMaio, turned up the heat.

Fletcher lost the race, placing third, behind DeMaio and Democrat Bob Filner, the ultimate victor.

"I absolutely remember being told I needed to hand over my story to [U-T reporter Jeff] McDonald b/c I had not yet 'found the dirt' on Fletcher," wrote former U-T reporter Wendy Fry in a November 17, 2012, tweet.

The same day, Fletcher tweeted, "Hard 2 make case news isn't extension of ownership positions."

The U-T’s "Watchdog" Twitter account responded, "Nathan, think what you will of U-T editorial positions, but our Campaign Watch effort looked at everyone, not just you."

In the fall of 2013, Fletcher, having re-registered as a Democrat, ran for mayor again, this time against Republican city councilman Kevin Faulconer and Democratic councilman David Alvarez.

Manchester and his allies in the GOP Lincoln Club redoubled their anti-Fletcher effort, attacking his role as an executive at Qualcomm, the cell-phone chip giant founded by Obama Democratic billionaire Irwin Jacobs.

The volley of Republican hit pieces drew the wrath of his son Paul Jacobs, who demanded that the Lincoln Club call a halt to its attacks.

"The allegations about Nathan’s job are completely untrue, from the erroneous salary figure to the outrageous allegation that his is a 'no-show' job," Jacobs wrote the Republicans.

"Is the Lincoln Club so desperate and out of constructive ideas that they are resorting to attacks on private employers, forsaking their supposed principles and lying to serve a political agenda?"

The Jacobs letter concluded: "I demand a full apology and a retraction of this slanderous attack on our company and its more than 13,000 local employees."

Fletcher again placed third, but Jacobs and other Fletcher-friendly Democrats continue to see him as viable challenger to Faulconer next year, especially if Manchester transfers U-T ownership to a nonprofit corporation being organized by Point Loma real estate mogul and Fletcher backer Malin Burnham.

Whether Fletcher's divorce petition, filed January 27, could alter any political plans he may have remains to be seen. Mindy Fletcher acknowledged service on February 25.

The couple was married September 19, 2003, and separated December 1 of last year. According to the documents, "the nature and extent of the community assets and debts is subject to discovery."

Joint custody of the children is requested, with Mindy having primary custody, and Nathan having alternate weekend custody, along with "alternating visitations on Monday and Tuesday (Week 1) and Wednesday and Thursday (Week 2). Visitations are from 6 PM until drop off at school.”

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Comments

About the only thing missing here is a description of handsome Nathan Fletcher's stunning chameleon-like personal qualities in service to personal advancement. I guess neither he nor his very Republican wife could rationalize their marital arrangement anymore.

Fletcher strategically bailed from his good job in the office of Congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham just three months before the GOP stalwart was scandalously convicted and jailed for selling votes for bribes. Later, as a candidate in the local mayor's race and on a rare occasion when Fletcher was asked about Cunningham by fawning Jacobs-financed local news outlets, he disavowed his former boss, claiming that he "hardly knew" him.

In two terms as a Republican state assemblyman from a conservative district in the post 9/11 era, Fletcher frequently traded on his military service as a Marine in the National Guard and often emphasized in speeches the nation's need for ever-increasing "security" at the borders and at home. Later on, he headed an ACLU-sponsored effort to secure justice for detained undocumented border-crossers.

In the mayoral campaign, Fletcher repeatedly used the willing parents of a murdered teenager from Poway to endorse him in television ads. But Fletcher was denied the endorsement of the County Republican Party in the Primary, so he reflected over a weekend and then became a registered Independent. Nathan and Mindy announced the shift in a video made from their home. But the new Party affiliation failed to secure him a run-off spot and the mayoral contest went to Carl deMaio and Bob Filner.

Within five months of the election of Democratic Mayor Bob Filner, Fletcher re-affiliated himself once again -- this time as a Democrat -- with the warm welcome of County Democratic chair Francine Busby, the attention of Dem money bundler Christine Forester and new jobs at both Qualcomm and UCSD, presumably engineered by Fletcher patron and billionaire Democrat Irwin Jacobs who founded the company and is philanthropist to the university.

monahan, you may be correct about the timelines for Fletcher. And if he's traded on his military service, he isn't the only one to do that locally. (Check out John McCann's situation when he was on the Sweetwater school board, and now back on the Chula Vista city council.)

But I have a small quibble. "Marine" and "National Guard" don't go together. You have Army and Air Force National Guard units, but the Navy and Marines aren't involved. I'd guess that Fletcher was a Marine reservist.

Thank you. Militarily speaking, I stand corrected and have learned something: I thought reservist was a synonym for National Guard. I don't know about Sweetwater's misfortunes, but surely there can't be two such phonies among us. I call it chutzpah, but Italians call it "having a bronze face"-- a perfect description of what Fletcher's relentless political ambition requires..

As I wrote, it was a small point. Actually the NG is part of the reserve component of our military forces, so the two terms can be used "almost" as synonyms. But not quite. Hasn't the Reader done some exposes of the role of Mrs Fletcher that made his political career look even more questionable? In any event, I don't want Irwin Jacobs having any control over the city, the county, the state, or this nation. At his age it is time for him to become an elder "statesman", not a political activist. And yet, just the opposite is what we're seeing.

Well, that answers the question by Lori Kern about why he hasn't wasted time at the Dem Central Committee!

Umm, it wasn't a question. More of a statement. And fyi, the money people, including Christine Forrester, have lost faith in Francine Busby and were in favor of a new chair. If he runs, it's not likely he will get our support unless he does the work. I'm pretty sure (but I wouldn't bet my life) he wouldn't get support from labor either.

Politics makes strange bedfellows. Oh well, in the grand scheme of things their divorce will fade into the background of failed human relations.

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