A day before the deadline to file, Assemblymember David Chiu told his supporters Monday morning he will not run for San Francisco mayor.
Chiu’s announcement follows Sunday’s decision from Assessor-Recorder Carmen Chu that she will not run either. Without either jumping into the race, it appears no well-known Chinese candidate will compete in the contest.
“After discussions with my wife, friends and allies, I will not be running for Mayor this June,” Chiu announced on Facebook and in an email to his supporters.
Chiu said his decision was based on prioritizing his family and continuing his efforts in Sacramento where there is “more to fight for.”
“During my first three years, we have delivered on housing, transportation, immigrant protections and other areas, but our work is not done,” he wrote. “As California continues to lead the Resistance, our efforts at the state level are more important than ever.”
The June 5 mayor election was scheduled after Mayor Ed Lee, San Francisco’s first Chinese-American mayor, died unexpectedly Dec. 12 of a heart attack.
The election has created an intense few weeks of political maneuvering as elected officials weighed whether to compete in the June race. Before Lee died, the next scheduled mayoral race was in November 2019.
Chiu would have had give up the job security of his current Assembly seat if he were to run in the June race since he is up for re-election in the Assembly this June and couldn’t run for both positions.
Chiu’s first elected position was as a San Francisco supervisor representing District 3, including North Beach and Chinatown. He also served as board president. In 2014, Chiu won his current Assembly seat against his more progressive colleague on the board at the time, David Campos.
Board of Supervisors President London Breed became acting mayor upon Lee’s death as prescribed by the city’s charter. If she continues to serve as mayor heading into June (she announced her candidacy in the race Friday), she has a significant advantage in the contest. A recent poll places state Sen. Mark Leno as the frontrunner with Breed not far behind.
Breed, a more moderate candidate, had early on picked up the support of former Mayor Willie Brown, who helped Lee become mayor, and the support of Ron Conway, a Silicon Valley angel investor and Lee’s prominent backer who encouraged making it easier for technology companies to flourish in San Francisco.
The board may vote whether to name Breed interim mayor as early as Jan. 16. If she is named interim mayor, she would give up her seat on the board, but Breed would need six votes on the board, which seems unlikely. Without the more moderate Breed being able to vote for herself, the board is split 5-5 between the moderate and progressive blocs. Inaction means Breed serves in both positions until June.
Other well-known candidates in the race include former Supervisor Angela Alioto, who filed to run for mayor last week. City Attorney Dennis Herrera and Supervisor Jane Kim have both pulled papers to run.
The deadline to file to run is Tuesday at 5 p.m.