“Today jeweler Leo Hamel — also a Republican — pulled nomination papers at the Registrar of Voters, with just days to spare before this Friday’s filing deadline,” said a post on sdrostra.com, a conservative blog.
“Hamel, a well-known face on local TV with his Leo Hamel Fine Jewelry ads, often including his family, has long been considered a potential East County candidate.”
Santee Mayor Randy Voepel was considered the front-runner to succeed termed-out Brian Jones in the East County district.
In a comment posted late Tuesday night, Eric Andersen said: “To say Leo is passionate about limited government and free markets would be an understatement. Very few are more passionate than myself. He might be one. There is a bold color before us. No pale pastel here.”
Andersen said Hamel, 59, would appear at a Republican Liberty Caucus event Thursday. (The group’s site says it meets at Giovanni’s Italian Restaurant at 9353 Clairemont Mesa Blvd.)
In a 2008 Ranch and Coast magazine profile, Hamel is said to have started his company in 1980 “with fine estate jewelry, mint condition pre-owned watches and competitive prices on loose diamonds and engagement rings.”
Hamel, with a a half-dozen stores in the county, was called San Diego’s largest buyer of pre-owned jewelry, scrap gold, coins, sterling silverware and fine watches.
His LinkedIn profile says Hamel worked out of a briefcase after a short-lived stint selling jewelry in San Diego’s largest department store.
“Leo was fired several times for bending the rules to give his customers a better shopping experience,” the profile said, “but was always rehired for being the top salesman. His boss at the time ‘suggested’ that he start his own business. So with $125 in his pocket, he ventured out on his own.”
In March 2012, Hamel sued his partner in a La Mesa private school on Jackson Drive called Day-McKellar Prep School. He sought close to $500,000 that he said Cara Day-McKellar owed him as a stake in the closed school.
In February 2014, San Diego Superior Court Judge Timothy Taylor dismissed the case, saying both sides failed to appear at the previous two hearings.