As we learned the other week, former state senator, assemblyman, and SF supervisor Mark Leno has announced he's running for mayor in 2019, i.e. almost two and a half years from now. Now the Chronicle's Matier & Ross delve into the reasoning behind such an early announcement, which is strategic given who Leno's opponents are likely to be. And, as M&R point out, "If anyone can testify to the strategy’s effectiveness, it’s Leno it’s the same tactic Mayor Ed Lee used to scare him away from the 2015 race when Leno was pondering a challenge."
Leno will have an early advantage when it comes to fundraising given his long and deep connections around town especially among progressives, nightlife entrepreneurs, labor, and the LGBT community (he formerly was the supervisor for the District 8, which includes the Castro) and he's said he's aiming to raise $1 million by the end of this year in preparation for a fight against a field of other Democrats of various stripes.
Supervisor Mark Farrell is said to be mulling a run, and he will be termed out of office in 2018, leaving him time to campaign. District Attorney George Gascon and City Attorney Dennis Herrera, however, aren't termed out until 2019, and while they're both rumored to be considering running, Leno may be hoping to spook them, in particular, from even trying.
State assemblymen David Chiu and Phil Ting could also be running for mayor in 2019, and Willie Brown chimes in with his own rumor in his Chronicle column, saying that Dr. Priscilla Chan, a.k.a. Mrs. Mark Zuckerberg, is being whispered about as a possible candidate a possibility he responds to with typical Willie chin-rubbing saying, "Now that would be interesting."
Meanwhile in his own Chronicle column over the weekend, David Talbot comes hard for Mayor Ed Lee, asking where Lee was during the contentious community meeting over a homeless navigation center in the Mission recently, and how his chief of staff, Steve Kawa, is the one running the city day to day for the most part.
Talbot quotes Supervisor Aaron Peskin who, by the way, has quashed rumors about his own run for mayor, and has already come out with an endorsement for Leno who says, “I was talking to somebody about a hot issue one day outside the Board of Supervisors room, and he asked me, ‘What’s the mayor think about this?’ And I said, ‘Why don’t you ask him — he’s standing over there.’ And I pointed to Steve Kawa.”
Peskin adds, with regard to the light schedule of public appearances the mayor keeps, "I get the mayor’s schedule of events mailed to me each day, and there’s often nothing on it."
Talbot even got a defensive statement from the mayor's office that reads, "Mayor Lee, while not as flashy as some of our previous mayors, is a nose to the grindstone guy with a vision to match his tenacity.” And the statement pointed to the rehabilitation of the city’s public housing stock as a signature accomplishment Lee is proud of, “with nearly 3,500 public housing units and 29 buildings across the city” being renovated and put under the management of organizations that specialize low-income housing management.
And then Talbot ends with a classic zinger from Peskin, referring to Lee's past as a Chinatown activist: "It’s sad Rose Pak is dead. She’d be screaming at Ed, reminding him of where he came from."