City Attorney Dennis Herrera’s mayoral campaign unveiled a television attack ad Tuesday against Mayor Ed Lee using slick graphics to convey some already-established themes in this year’s race, such as Lee’s connection to Chinatown power broker Rose Pak and his support of the controversial and expensive Central Subway project.
But here’s a new one: Ed Lee is backed by Republicans.
Toward the end of the 30-second spot, the screen quickly zooms out to reveal a colorful GOP elephant lapel pin on the jackets of anonymous black-and-white politicos in expensive-looking suits.
“Ed Lee is getting it done — for his friends and for his contributors. Not for us,” says the narrator in the ad — a play off the mayor’s slogan of getting things done at City Hall.
Matt Dorsey, spokesman for Herrera’s campaign, said the dig was directed at Twitter investor Ron Conway, a registered Republican who started an independent expenditure committee on behalf of Lee — a Democrat.
Tony Winnicker, Lee’s campaign spokesman, shot back at the Herrera camp by accusing the city attorney of using local politics to encourage Republicans to kill funding for the $1.6 billion Central Subway project, which would connect Chinatown with South of Market if federal funding can be secured.
“That’s just a slander,” Winnicker said of the elephant lapel. “And it’s especially ironic given that Dennis Herrera just last week teamed up with the tea party in Washington against Nancy Pelosi to jeopardize transit funding in San Francisco.”
Dorsey said Herrera opposes the project “on the merits, or lack thereof.”
Being linked to Republicans can be political poison in left-leaning San Francisco. Two decades ago, Anne Marie Conroy lost her bid for supervisor after political consultants managed to brand her with the GOP label.
“There have been candidates that say, thank you, but I don’t want your endorsement,” said Harmeet Dhillon, chairwoman of the San Francisco Republican Party.
The local GOP group recently voted to “support” Ed Lee and venture capitalist Joanna Rees in the race, a distinction that stops just short of an official endorsement. The group gave that distinction to former Supervisor Tony Hall, who proudly displays it on his website, although he officially lists himself as an independent.
The recent political ad, on which the Herrera campaign spent $100,000 to run for two weeks, represents the second TV attack on Lee — who is widely considered the front-runner in the race — this month. State Sen. Leland Yee’s mayoral campaign spent $75,000 to air an ad chiding Lee for breaking his initial promise not to seek permanent office.