Is State Senator Mark Leno actually going to run against incumbent Ed Lee for mayor of San Francisco? According to one local news site, he sure as heck is, and will be announcing his campaign shortly after Thanksgiving.
Back in March of 2010, Leno teased us with the thought that he might run for Mayor in the 2011 election. Well, we know how that all ended up: then-mayor Gavin Newsom was elected Lt. Gov in November, 2010, Ed Lee was appointed in his stead, and the rest is mustachoed history.
Last month, the rumors began again (well, the rumors were there all along, so maybe I should say they "solidified") after the Chron's Matier and Ross reported that “a lot of people are asking" that Leno run against Lee "and I’m listening,” Leno said.
"Locals unhappy with the changes wrought under Lee’s tech-friendly policies" had been encouraging a Leno/Lee face off in 2015, (Leno terms out of his Senate seat in 2016), and today BeyondChron says that it's practically official, and that Leno might announce as soon as next week.
Of course, this is BeyondChron we're talking about, a publication from San Francisco’s Tenderloin Housing Clinic notorious for its uncritical boosterism of Mayor Ed Lee. Whether this is because publisher/THC head Randy Shaw truly thinks Lee is just great or because, in the words of the SF Bay Guardian, in return for his promotion of the Mayor's causes "Shaw quietly gets tremendous city support — including big infusions of public funds — for his projects and initiatives," is anyone's guess — and is likely predicated on how influential you believe a publication like BeyondChron can possibly be.
But even the Lee-positive BeyondChron seems to think that Leno poses a threat to their beloved leader/patron, with Shaw saying that even as he "find(s) enormous reservoirs of good will toward the mayor," he has to admit that "whatever his reasons, Mark Leno will run a tough race. Mayor Lee knows this, and has already moved his campaign into high gear."
"I have probably spent more time talking with Mark Leno and Ed Lee than any other current elected officials. I have the highest regard for both. A race between them is obviously not good news for me," Shaw wrote. But he might be in the minority in that sentiment, as a recent poll suggested a Leno over Lee result of 40 to 36 percent, which seems to imply that a Leno/Lee matchup sounds very good to many.
Far less scientifically, an SFist poll taken in October had a more dramatic divide, with Lee getting 12.85% of the 942 votes cast, and Leno getting the other 87.15%. Based on those numbers, and Shaw's worries, it seems like a showdown between Leno and Lee might only be bad for two people: Shaw and Lee, himself.