Supervisor Aaron Peskin has repeatedly said he’s not running to be mayor of San Francisco in November 2024, but it was easy to dismiss those claims as chess-match ploys. And now, multiple local media outlets say that yes, Peskin will run for mayor this year.

District 3 San Francisco Supervisor Aaron Peskin has maintained for months that he is absolutely, positively not running for mayor in  2024, but there have been rumors that Peskin would run for mayor for the better part of the last ten years. And it's been hard to take his denials seriously, considering that Peskin walked into a January 2023 Board of Supervisors meeting saying he had no interest in being the board’s president, yet somehow machinated his way into that coveted position by gaming a process that lasted 17 votes.

Sure enough, just before 6 pm Thursday night, the Chronicle broke the news that they had sources saying Peskin is running for mayor. Roughly a half hour later, KRON4 had their own report saying Peskin is definitely running for the job. The Chronicle bases their report on “The two sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity” that said Peskin would run, as well as “Four other sources said they learned of Peskin’s plan either from someone close to him or from other people with whom he had discussed his planned candidacy.”

KRON4’s reports says Peskin “will officially enter the race next week.” Candidates have until June 11 to formally file campaign paperwork.

Peskin himself commented to the Chronicle that “I have not declared that I am running for mayor and I don't have any immediate plans to do so.” (People, that is not a denial.) He also added that he’s “certainly warmed up to the idea,” so you see where this is going.

Yes it is already a crowded race for mayor, with London Breed running for reelection (but polling poorly), plus blue-chip candidates like former supervisor Mark Farrell and current District 11 Supervisor Ahsha Safai, and Levi Strauss heir Daniel Lurie in the race too. But all four of those candidates are moderates, and with no other hard-left progressive in the race, Peskin could easily dominate the progressive vote while the others splinter the moderate vote. Peskin, of course, is termed out as District 3 supervisor after November’s election — for the second time, we should add. (Peskin has served as the district's supervisor for a total of 16 years at this point, with a break in between — he was first elected in December 2000 and was termed out in 2009.)

Peskin is likely happy to play the foil against the wealthy tech donor class. But the pro-development YIMBY movement absolutely hates him, and there’s plenty of fodder to paint Peskin as anti-housing. We can anticipate there may be some personal attacks over his bout with alcoholism, though that could backfire, as Peskin has rebuilt all the bridges he burned quite effectively, and his recovery story has been compelling.

Plus, Peskin has retail political skills and a tactical understanding of SF politics that are lightyears beyond several of his less experienced mayoral opponents.

“There’s a pretty strong chance that a person who can combine the working labor vote with a take-care-of-our-neighborhood-character vote with a progressive vote could be in the lead,” political consultant Jim Stearns told the Chronicle (Stearns has previously worked on Peskin’s supervisor campaigns). "I’m not saying he’s running. I’m just saying I would love to have a progressive in the race, so if he is running, I’m on board."

That sounds like a man telegraphing that he would accept a campaign job.

Peskin is 59, and has been on and off the Board of Supervisors since the early George W. Bush Administration. While recent polling has given Mark Farrell the advantage in the race, Peskin’s name was not included in that poll, and it’s hard to predict how ranked-choice will shake out. That Chronicle poll also showed “Undecided” had the largest share of the votes, and as the Chronicle themselves note, that poll also said that “around 44% of likely voters who identify as progressive do not have a first choice for mayor.”

Related: Board of Supervisors Palace Intrigue: Peskin Takes Presidency as Board Ousts Walton From Top Spot [SFist]

Image: @AaronPeskin via Twitter