Candidates are already beginning to step forward in the unexpected June 2018 mayor’s race in San Francisco following the death of Mayor Ed Lee on Tuesday.
Amy Farrah Weiss, who unsuccessfully ran against Lee in his 2015 re-election bid, pulled papers Friday to run for mayor in June. Not surprisingly, former state Sen. Mark Leno had pulled papers Thursday to run, after having already launched a campaign to run for mayor in November 2019.
“It’s a continuation of the platform I had from 2015,” Weiss told the San Francisco Examiner. “Everything is still completely relevant.”
Weiss’ platform focuses on equity. She is asking voters to provide more equity ideas to the ones she already has, such as creating a public bank, enacting a vacancy tax and developing “safe organized spaces” to address homeless encampments and the shortage of shelter beds.
“I have wanted, and still passionately want, a true revolution of equity to spring forth through San Francisco politics and government,” Weiss wrote in an email to the Examiner. “Although Ed Lee was often an impediment to that vision of equity, I still feel humbled and reflective as a human being about his passing. I think that deep down that Ed Lee would appreciate a more equitable society if it were to have come to fruition, because those were his roots.”
Weiss had aligned herself with two other mayoral candidates, including Examiner columnist Stuart Schuffman, known as “Broke-Ass Stuart,” in a failed ranked choice voting strategy effort to defeat Lee during his re-election bid in 2015, when the mayor didn’t face any established political candidate.
Weiss was largely written off as a non-credible candidate in 2015, but was critical of the media for not taking her challenge more seriously. She received 12 percent of the votes.
Weiss is also critical of people’s willingness to accept the “inevitability” of an established candidate becoming the next San Francisco mayor. She noted that Lee proved more vulnerable than initially thought at the start of that campaign as Lee’s poll numbers dwindled with time.
Meanwhile, there is mounting speculation about which established politicians will enter the contest. In addition to Leno, supervisors Jane Kim and Mark Farrell, Assemblymember David Chiu and City Attorney Dennis Herrera are all thought to be considering running in June along with acting Mayor and Board of Supervisors President London Breed.
Other lesser known residents have also pulled papers to throw their hats into the ring, including Richie Greenberg, who was unsuccessful candidate in the District 1 2016 race for the Board of Supervisors, William Daugherty, who is formerly homeless, and Brianna Elizabeth Varner.
“If I win, I will house every single homeless person in a responsible way by the end of my term,” said the 24-year-old Daugherty, who had worked as an intern for John Avalos when he was supervisor.
It is not unusual in San Francisco’s mayoral races to see a diverse collection of candidates. Candidates must pay a fee of $6,531 — 2 percent of the mayor’s salary — to run or they can collect 13,061 signatures by Dec. 26 to avoid paying the fee.
Meanwhile, it remains unclear if Breed will continue to serve as acting mayor next year. The board could vote at the earliest on Jan. 9 to name a caretaker mayor who would pledge not to run in June. If Breed decides to run for mayor and remains as acting mayor it gives her a significant advantage.
Weiss said there should be a separation of powers between the legislative and executive branches and supported the board selecting a caretaker mayor who doesn’t file to run for the seat.
The deadline to file for the June contest is also Jan. 9, by 5 p.m..