Supporters clap after Lori Salaña’s formal announcement that she is running for mayor. Photo by Chris Jennewein

Former Assembly member Lori Sandaña formally announced Thursday her independent, “grassroots” campaign for mayor, saying incumbent Kevin Faulconer deserved a challenge.

“Kevin Faulconer is big on talk, and little on follow-through,” Saldaña said. “I will make sure that City Hall is full of the people committed to San Diego, not to corporate interests.”

Saldaña made the announcement in a press conference at the Grassroots Oasis, a community center in the Midway area.

She conceded her campaign might be an uphill battle, noting she had not yet raised money and Faulconer could be re-elected in the June primary without a runoff.

But she said voters haven’t yet focused on the race, and she would draw independents seeking a choice. “I’m going to be grassroots driven — volunteer oriented,” she vowed.

Saldaña said she supports a minimum-wage increase, would lead an aggressive local climate-action plan, and would work to bring the right football team to the city. She said Faulconer “fumbled” a deal with the Chargers, but doesn’t believe the Rams would be good for San Diego.

She also warned that Faulconer is not committed to four more years as mayor but would seek higher elected office in his second term.

Though she is running an an independent candidate in spite of her long history as a Democrat, she promised that “my values and principles have not changed.”

Saldaña, who represented central San Diego in the State Assembly from 2004 to 2010, left the Democratic Party in 2014 following disputes with local leaders and a growing antipathy for party politics.

In December, Democratic mayoral candidate Gretchen Newsom dropped out of the race, citing an upcoming divorce and family obligations. The mayor is a non-partisan office, but Faulconer is a Republican.

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.