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Incident mirrors similar mob scene at Busby-Bilbray debate witnessed by ECM

By Miriam Raftery

ECM reporter Mary Paulet contributed to this report

November 5, 2010 (San Diego) – In the sore loser category, Republican Nick Popaditch wins hands down.


Multiple credible news sites have reported that after Democratic Congressman Bob Filner was declared winner  by a 20-point margin, a mob of Popaditch supporters, including Tea Party and white supremacist members, cornered and spat on Popaditch’s opponent, Filner. Video by the Chula Vista Star News reveals that Popaditch cursed at Filner, called him a liar, and made no efforts to calm down an increasingly virulent mob that forced Filner out of Golden Hall’s Election Central and into the lobby. Filner told CityBeat that he was shoved by Popaditch.


“Last night, Nick Popadith made Election Central a threatening and unsafe place to be,” CityBeat’s Dave Masse wrote. Mayor Jerry Sanders’ security detail ultimately rescued the Congressman from the mob, CityBeat reported.

East County Magazine reporter Mary Paulet interviewed a witness, Robin Buse, during the altercation, whose statement confirms Filner's allegation. Buse told ECM that she saw Popaditch push Filner. “I ran and got the cops,” added Buse, a Filner supporter. Others, fearful for their safety, confirmed assaults by Popaditch and his supporters.


A second witness, who asked not to be named, said she also saw pushing and cussing.  She added that a Popaditch supporter also pushed a Filner supporter.


East County Magazine editor Miriam Raftery, also at the scene, spoke with yet another distraught person who said “Popaditch just went after Filner.” Raftery photographed police officers moving in to calm down the mob.

A Southwestern College Sun reporter said that a Popaditch supporter punched a Filner supporter in the face, that Popaditch backers spat on Filner supporters and chanted “Bob’s a bitch.”



The San Diego Union-Tribune quotes Filner as saying “It was like a mob scene…there was violence in their eyes." 

Popaditch supporters chanted loudly, drowning out everyone else in the room, pressing inward while shaking fists and shouting in angry tones. Citybeat reports that Popaditch supporters were angered because they believed Filner misrepresented Popaditch’s voting record in ads, however the ads

were technically correct. The ads stated that Popaditch did not vote for many years, which is true; however the ad omits to mention that Popaditch did vote more recently.

Popaditch, a combat veteran and former Marine drill sergeant whose unit helped topple the statue of Saddam Hussein, was medically retired after losing vision in a grenade explosion. The eyepatch-sporting veteran, “seemed more like a military commander than a candidate when he tried to take Election Central by brute force and intimidation,” Masse wrote.

Now an avowed white Supremacist follower of Popaditch, who uses the nickname “Aurick the Great White Elf” on a White Supremacist website, Stormfront.org, has posted video on YouTube filmed during the incident. The video incites followers to violence, CityBeat reported. Calling the election a “complete fraud” the narrative ads, “Total war is all that’s left to us! I saw the beginning of it last night and so did you…they tyrants are still in power!...We have rebel friends around the world too that will join us in our eternal struggle.” Aurick admits on Stormfront to being a Ku Klux Klan member. And rails against Jews, noting “Jews secretly control the world.” Filner is Jewish.

Aurick’s video of the mob scene at Golden Hall, intersperses images of AK-47 guns, militias, the Irish Republican Army and more, and a “Sniper at work” sign. Aurick also changed his profile image from a Beavis & Butthead sketch to a photo of a man wearing a ski-mask, armed with a shoulder-mounted assault weapon.


Popaditch , who uses the nickname “Gunny Pop” on Facebook, thus far has said nothing to disavow the violent and threatening actions of his followers—and instead has acted like the leader of the pack. His website claims he is ready to “charge the Hill for our country and protect what our Founding Fathers fought for.”

He appears to have forgotten that our founding fathers fought a war of independence to create a democracy. When that democratic process proved Filner the winner, reelected by voters in his district by a hefty margin, Popaditch could have opted to concede defeat graciously—as other prominent losing candidates on both sides of the political aisle have long done out of respect for the integrity of our democratic electoral process. Instead, Popaditch demonstrated support for anarchy, violence, and mob rule.

East County Magazine was the only media present when a similar incident occurred following the Francine Busby-Brian Bilbray debate. Bilbray supporters surrounded Busby, chanting loudly and pushing inwards, refusing to back off when asked repeatedly. An ECM reporter witnessed that altercation and multiple witnesses inside the circle confirmed that the were concerned about a mob mentality. A Chamber of Commerce president, concerned for Busby’s safety , escorted her and a campaign aide to the parking lot.

In both cases, supporters of the candidates whose backers formed the mob attempted to dispute the facts with blog posts claiming they were not the instigators. But photos and in the Popaditch case, multiple videos make clear that these were organized and orchestrated efforts to intimidate and possibly harm our public officials –something that should not be tolerated in a democracy, regardless of whether one agrees or disagrees with the views of those in power.

On a night when Republicans took back power in the House of Representatives in many districts, San Diego voters chose to reject Popaditch’s strong-arm tactics to reelect Filner, who has been a powerful voice for veterans, minorities, and the poor in his South San Diego County district, which includes southeastern portions of East County and Imperial County.

San Diego Police and Sheriff officials should dispatch extra security to events where Democratic Congressional officials or candidates are present in the future, if these two disturbing incidents are any indication of a trend.

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It take two to fight...


Here is the unedited video of the event...

Theses are clips from Election Central San Diego Golden Hall. I didn't see any of the altercations that were described. I have seen worse. In 2004 I was running the Giorgino for Congress campaign and we had the same thing going on. Filners people came to me and I controlled my people and Filners campaign people controlled his people.

Oh, and by the way, that tool

Oh, and by the way, that tool with the white t-shirt and red suspenders and shorts holding the Popaditch sign at 3:40 is none other than our Aurick The Great White Elf. Just FYI.


How can you possibly say that is unedited? It jumps at least three times and it is clearly edited, even to a totally untrained eye.

Luckily, I was there, and so I can tell you that you can see the beginning of the incident described in this article in your video at about 3:08 when the crowd starts marching out of the hall itself, and you can see them break and start to mob Filner at exactly 3:37. Then, suddenly - whoops - your tape cuts to back inside Golden Hall with Filner coming back in. The video from the Chula Vista Star-News is completely unedited and shows what happens right after your tape jumps. I know, because I was there. In fact, I do believe you were the rude person who shoved me aside to get video of Filner getting interviewed before this ugly incident.

I am thoroughly amazed that you claim this is unedited. Perhaps you don't understand what "edited" means, which would actually make a lot of sense with your claims. Want another test? We could line up the videos where yours stops and the Star's begins, and the overlapping sound would match up perfectly.

Edited youtube video is very misleading.

Saying Pop' is a racist because a KKK member shot a video with his phone is reaching. The only racist KKK member was Senetor Robert "sheets" Byrd. A VERY liberal senator. It is not like he killed someone at Chappaquiddick. It is not like he gave money to his wife from the TARP funds Boxer. It's not like he has armed uniformed thugs making sure you vote for the democrat like the Black Panthers. It is not like his life partner is running a male prostitution ring out of his Washington D.C. apartment. Barney Frank It's not like he came back from Vietnam and talked about how evil the United States is. Kerry. There was not even a dead body found in Fort Marcy park (poor Vince). It is not like there was a mob of SEIU thugs outside puncturing tires, and beating down old black men. You liberals would overlook child molesters to find and arrest Conservatives that used an out of date coupon at Arby's.


After 25-plus years teaching young people the basics of government, I am appalled at the vitriolic commentary here. Did these writers opt out of their classes on democracy and civics? Or were those subjects not tested... and so never taught or learned.

YouTube, and the internet in general, is a repository of all kinds of opinion and commentary. It doesn't mean I have to like it, agree with it, or even watch it. It is often ugly, misleading, or an outright lie. But within certain limits, it is certainly protected by our Bill of Rights. Didn't we all just go through the same election cycle and see the same garbage in our mail and on the television?

There IS enough video available that has NOT been made into someone's personal op-ed: < http://lastblogonearth.com/2010/11/04/more-popaditch-footage/ >. What happened during those moments on Election Night is very disturbing, and there are enough continuous shots to be able to form some credible conclusions without resorting to conspiracy theories.

This kind of behavior from our citizens and leaders diminishes us as a people and a nation. We expect more of fifth-graders on the recess playgrounds. Civil discourse needs to be relearned, and real leaders need to show the way. Shame on Mr. Popaditch and any political candidate who cannot find it within themselves to decry unacceptable behavior... whatever their politics. Mr. Popaditch needs to step up to the plate and show some class. That would speak volumes about his leadership. That is how America is supposed to work.

How dare you people!

I am disgusted at this outrageous injustice! This is a fabrication and you people should be ashamed of yourselves!
I was there right in the middle. First of all the only one doing any punching was a Filner thug! He hit an elderly man from the Popaditch camp.
The only thing we as Popaditch supporters were guilty of was being loud, that is it! I am sure you people are very familiar with the term freedom of speech.
Secondly, Nick did in fact call Mr. Filner a liar for which he was entirely correct. Filner certainly lied in his 11th hour add. Nick did miss a few elections but did not fail to vote the past 11 years as Mr Filner stated in the add. If you democrats weren't so busy keeping veterans from getting a hold of their ballots while they serve over seas, they would probably all have better voting records.
You people make me sick! We are people who came out and supported a good man. A man who risked his life for us in battle. He was no cheerleader to a mob Tuesday night. Only a proud candidate. In no way did Nick incite anyone to do anything out of line and if chanting a mans name is out of line then we were guilty.
No one touched Filner. Didn't come close! That is an out right lie! Filner is a liar and he is using this as a means to smear a good man.
The video posted in the name of a "POPADITCH" supporter is slander and I suggest you remove it or face legal action. We will not stand for this kind of ridiculous uncontroled propaganda.

media bias, this media rag sucks

miriamg says:
This is the publisher of this bias rug'
Do you think this guy has an agenda or what??
read all his comments and ask yourself:
Can this person be fair?
Is he reporting the news straight down the middle, or using it to push a liberal agenda
him and kieth oberman should be in the same unemployment line

your comment makes no sense.

 You put something in quotes that  I didn't say.  


We are a news site. We make every effort to be fair.  By contrast, Olbermann is clearly a left-leaning opinion show, just as Scarborough is an opinion show on the right side of the aisle. 

We dont' endorse candidates or editorialize on political races.  If we publish a readers' editorial it's clearly labeled as that person's editorial/opinion.   In news stories we quote our sources and link to them wherever possible so readers can determine the credibility for themselves. 


It's no coincidence that we've been awarded 32 journalism awards from major journalism organizations in our first two years, including several for political reporting.  Clearly the pros in the journalism profession disagree with your assessment.  "Liberal rags", or conservative ones, don't rack up those sorts of professional journalism honors.  Incidentally, the contests are judged blind by professoinal journalists in other cities who are not familiar with the publications and judge each article entered on its merits for adhering to the standards of the jouranlism profession--something you apparently know little about.



Who is "we"? Ed? "We will not stand it...?"

You clearly don't understand the law.

I am married to a lawyer and am very well versed in libel law. We are on totally sound legal ground here.  All we did is quote eyewitnesses and link to other new stories, where our reporting corroborated what was previously reported by five other news outlets.

Popaditch is  a public figure. The standard for libel or slander is higher for a politician than for an ordinary citizen, but our reporting is solid and backed up by multiple sources to a point that even a private citizen would not have grounds for any complaint.  In fact, the only one maligned here was our publication, libeled by a ranter below who later admitted he fabricated lies in a ridiculous attempt to discredit our award-winning reporting team which has won 32 journalism awards.  Any judge would laugh your "case" out of court and likely award us damages for having our time and money wasted. 

I respect Mr. Popaditch's military service.  However not every veteran is suited for public office. He may well have an anger management issue, as multiple news sites seem to suggest.  "Proud" canddiates don't behave as he did--they concede graciously in defeat, and don't curse at their opponent which was caught on FILM by the Chula Vista Star News. Or are you accusing them of  inserting bleeps in the video falsely, too?

As for why veterans couldn't vote by electronic ballots overseas, that's because a hack test in a Washington DC election found the election was actually HACKED including by a university hacker who also found hack attempts by two overseas countries!  So electronic voting overseas was suspended and other voting means substituted to protect  the integrity of military votes.


There were many problems with military voting under the Bush adminstration, too -- so these are hardly new problems. Many votes cast by overseas military in those days arrived after the election and were never counted.




to ed wiest

ed wiest-

did you see the pictures or look at the videos? you should be ashamed for trying to b.s. us. man up and admit that all the goons are on his side.

voting? nick admitted that he was stateside and didn't vote. I SAW HIM SAW IT ON TV.

i risked my life in iraq as well, and was injured, and get a va payment every month for it, that does NOT entitle me to an elected office. we have these things called elections. take a civics class or read the constitution- please educate yourself.

complaint response

As the reporter who contributed to this, I want to say Thank You very much for your comment and keep reading!

save all of the pictures and videos

save all of the pictures and videos. use them when he tries to run again. i'm glad he is no longer serving in the military. Having a posse of skinheads, white supremacists and racists is a disgrace.

popaditch admitted he didn't vote, i saw him say it on tv. he said he was too busy training marines. i was in iraq and managed to vote although the san diego registrar did not make it easy, but i pursued and voted. from iraq. popaditch was stateside at mcrd but too busy?

i'm sorry that he was injured in iraq but he needed to present more of a reason to vote for him. all i heard was "i served my country, i was injured in iraq, vote for me". i needed to hear more than that.

The Awful Truth

I was there in the middle of all the melee Tuesday night. What happened Tuesday night is exactly as described in this article. Anyone who says it went down any differently either wasn't there or is embarrassed because they supported the thug Popaditch. Someone says maybe the video was edited. No. Those are the images and sounds that I saw and heard as well and my brain does not edit. Popaditch supporters, lead by Popaditch himself, separated Filner from the rest of his group, cornered him and a young student reporter up against the wall, screamed obscenities in their faces, and pushed Filner. They screamed "JEW!!!" at him and had such hate in their voices and violence in their eyes.

I can't decide what is more disgusting: the behavior of Popaditch & his gang of brainless minions or the mainstream media who were there but seemed to "see nothing."

What has happened to our country?

Popaditch incident

Thanks East Co Mag for summarizing this amazing story. We at the OB Rag helped to break this news, that the mainstream media refuses to pick-up. We posted a link to your site in our most recent post about this Popaditch incident against Filner. I had heard that a witness to the gunny pushing Filner himself and had called the Filner office this morning for a confirmation, but they couldn't give me one. I'm glad that you are publicizing this, people need to know what kind of ....... Popaditch actually is.

East County Magazine a liberal disgrace

I implore of readers to click on the you tube video, East County Magazine has turned this non event into a racially charged joke. The you tube video could have been made by anybody and spliced together to appear racist,and someone went out of their way to fabricate this story by adding neo nazi imagery to the video.

There is NO proof that this video was made by a Popaditch supporter NONE whatsoever. none of the footage at the hall appears to be racist by any stretch of the imagination,just a normal excited group of political supporters.

SHAME ON East County Magazine for perpetuating this story more than it already has by the one Filner supporter that made a racist video and posted it online.

Sometimes facts are disturbing... Deal with it.

There is a lot of garbage on the internet protected by the first amendment. I'll fight for their right to post, but it doesn't mean I have to like it or watch it. Adding imagery and editorial "comment" is often ugly, misleading, or outright lies. But it is protected by our Bill of Rights.
I DID, however, look at the video available from the Chula Vista Star News < http://lastblogonearth.com/2010/11/04/more-popaditch-footage/ > and found it very disturbing. No neo-Nazi images here, so you can draw your own conclusions. I have.
Until we can return to civil discourse, and relearn the art of listening and questioning, we are diminished as a people and a nation. The behavior so clearly in evidence in the video from Election Central should be absolutely disavowed by the candidate directly. That would speak volumes about his leadership. That is class. Most importantly.... that is the America I want back.

Non-violent? When a candidate shoved his opponent, cursed,

and did nothing to stop an ugly mob scene in which his supporters acted like thugs as at least five different media outlets have reported?  Even the conservative-leaning Union-Tribune referred to the "mob" mentality there.


If Popaditch wishes to make clear that he does not want support from racists, he should make a statement that he does not support the violent and racist call to action made by the YouTube poster and distance himself from it.


He hasn't done so, nor has he apologized for any of the actions of his followers.  One may infer the obvious from his silence.


We do not have "liberal bias." In fact many conservatives have praised our coverage in other races for council seats and local offices.  We provided positive coverage about an Iraq War vet running for Mayor in El Cajon and have always been respectful in our treatment of veterans.  But this is about the conduct of a specific candidate and his followers--not a blanket indictment against all Republicans or all Tea Party candidates and certainly not all veterans.  A veteran last month threatened his wife and police with guns and was killed by a SWAT team. Two active duty Marines last week robbed a bank and forced a SWAT team to shut down a neighborhood overnight.  There are bad apples in every profession in the world and soldiering is no exception, particularly for vets who have been through multiple deployments and may suffer from PTSD.  A candidate for politcial office should expect scrutiny by the media and public and keep his or her temper under control. 


Filner's ad, while incomplete and arguably misleading, was not a "lie." Popaditch DID go 11 years without voting as registrar records prove. It's also true that he voted in more recent elections.  However this sort of ads occurs in MANY races and we've seen far worse this election cycle.  Look at the Governor's race, U.S. Senate race, 52nd Congressional races, the La Mesa Mayoral race, just to name a few plagued by negative campaigning.  In none of those did the losing candidates curse at their opponent and surround them with a mob of fist-waving people.  Whitman graciously asked Brown if she could do anything to help heal solve California's problems, or words to that effect.  That is how candiadtes have historically acted on election night, even if they were battered by negative ads.  Popaditch apparently did none of that.


 If Popaditch does not wish to be viewed in  a negative light than he should denounce the mob actions of his followers and apologize for his own words and actions on election night.



Media Bias

OK East County Magazine lets talk fair and balanced. You report Nick Popaditch, A decorated Marine who gave his right eye to this country, "a RACIST" upon what basis?? because of one freak in the crowd? Oh, but you distance yourself for credibility sake and say: City Beat said....bla bla bla. I have proven beyond a shadow of and doubt that Filner hangs with RADICAL's and Freaks in my website at www.VoteTheBumOut.com but you will never report it. Media bias is one of the biggest problems in this country, and the people or waking up to it. 


EDITOR'S NOTE:  PLEASE DO NOT POST GRAPHICS IN COMMENTS.   We want to keep comments accessible to all readers, but will ban posters who violate our rules.  

It's hardly news that Filner is a liberal. What's news is a mob


mentality and intimidating actions led by his opponent.

If you do not support  thuggery or intimidation then you should be speaking out to encourage Popaditch to apologize for his actions and urge his followers not to react with violence, racist remarks or thuggery.


Many people in both parties provided gracious concession speeches; Meg Whitman to cite one prominent Republican.   Citybeat is not the only media outlet that witnessed this altercation.  The Chula Vista Star News, Union-Tribune, East County Magazine, and a Southewest College newspaper all saw what went on and reported on it.  


We did NOT call Popaditch a racist. We did note that an obviously racist follower had made violent threats in a YouTube video; the individual bragged about being there that night and he had footage not shown elsewhere.   But this was not merely about followers' actions, but Popaditch himself who is seen on video cursing and being rude to his opponent, and by several accounts, pushed him.  Do you really think that's behavior becoming of a Congressoinal candidate, however much you may approve of his political views?

your slanted views are the subject

my accusation of you being with the Mexican mafia and george soros is obviously a joke. You clam San Diego beat said thus and such, well here is the rub: you consistently slant the truth to fit your aganda, even the picture of Nick, and use other hacks to spread more propaganda, you guys wont get the middle of the road people any more, just the kieth oberman groupies.Nick told us he has no idea of who that NAZI is, Probably one of your leftwing plant's. oh and your threat about sending your lawyer my way, that will show your hand on your "FREEDOM OF SPEECH" stance. you are DISGRACEFUL

the photo of Popaditch

was taken that night and was the only one our reporter could get amid that mob.  Would you expect us to run a stock campaign photo instead of showing the look he had on his face that night?  THAT would have been slant.


The video shot by Chula Vista Star News is a legitimate news source, and incidentally their owners lean conservative last I heard.  

I can't speak to the authenticity of the YouTube video claiming to be posted by a Popaditch follower advocating violent overthrow of the government, as we merely reported on what other media published and their background research on the poster.  I hope it is true that Popaditch doesn't know the videographer and would disavow himself from any supporters with such racist views. 


As for your idea of a "joke" claiming to have knowledge that a publication has ties to mobsters or billionaire partisan donors, it is neither funny nor legal to impugn the integrity of a journalist or anyone else.  You have admitted you made it up, and I appreciate that as it certainly reveals more about  your credibility. 


I take my journalism responsibilities  very seriously.  I have through the years incurred anger on both sides of the aisle for honest reporting.  I was once thrown out of Filner's office for asking him a tough question about his airport security incident, in fact, and my reporting uncovered resume falsification by another Democratic Congressional candidate a few years ago. So your assertions of bias are simly unfounded.


I was present and observed enough during the mob situation at Golden Hall to feel that silence was not an option, since the observations of my reporter and myself confirmed what at least four other news organizations --most NOT left leaning--had reported. 



Golden Hall

The one time I am not at Golden Hall and all of this stuff happens. Wow. I was more concerned as to what was happening at the National level as in my opinion California is hopelessly in a permanent recession that it will not recover from in anyone's life time that is alive today.

I base my opinion's on the industry that I am in(Credit and Collections). I am smack dab in the middle of the economic effect on us all and follow Harry S Dent, Economist. I have followed the mid term elections fairly close and what I do know is that there is much anger out there and this election did not end it. The divisiveness in today's society is as wide as I have seen it in my life. I wish I had a magic answer to make it all go away, but I don't. As a society we must start treating other people with more dignity and respect if we are to have a chance at a successful future.

Our way of life is in peril.

Larry, thank you for your conservative voice of reason.


People can disagree passionately on issues but still maintain civility and respect.  Many in East County appreciated your role on the school board for being willing to listen to others and respect their views, even if you disagreed, and ocassionally find common ground.