San Diego mayor, Pittsburgh native who fought segregation, comes under swift, heavy scrutiny

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In Congress, he became chair the House Veterans Affairs Committee, launching a profanity-laced tirade against an official in 2007 over a failure to protect veterans’ personal data from computer theft. He was never a major player in Washington and, unlike his current job, labored largely outside the media spotlight.

“In order to become a part of the (House) leadership, you’ve got to get along with people and he’s a hard person to get along with” said Chris Crotty, a Democratic political consultant.

Crotty, who has known Filner more than 20 years, said Filner repeatedly wins elections because he delivers services that matter to constituents, like retirement benefits for a large population of Filipino veterans of World War II in his district.

Whether Filner can survive as mayor is a guessing game that may hinge on whether specifics emerge on the harassment allegations. He canceled a weekend appearance at the city’s gay pride parade, saying he didn’t want to be a distraction.

Crotty thinks Filner’s supporters will accept his apology, barring new disclosures. Carl Luna, a political science professor at San Diego’s Mesa College, believes there is an 80 percent chance Filner will be forced out.

“Everybody knew he had a tendency to be … somewhat jerkish and that he was no stranger to female companionship,” Luna said. “It just finally caught up with him.”

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