Lee supporters gather to raise funds to pay off mayor's campaign debt

Mayor Ed Lee may have won the election, but his campaign has some unfinished business, in the form of $300,000 in debt owed to vendors, pollsters and consultants, campaign spokesman Tony Winnicker said.

“He was one of the last candidates to get in, and he had to run a citywide campaign in just a few short months,” Winnicker said, explaining that campaign staff decided Lee’s limited time would be better spent talking to voters than seeking out donors.

Winnicker also noted that many potential donors had already thrown their support behind another candidate by the time Lee entered the race. But it’s not too late for those people to help Lee out. On Monday, supporters old and new will gather in the Duboce Triangle home of SFO director John Martin to help retire some of the mayor’s debt.

The reception, which costs $250 or $500 per person, is co-hosted by Supervisor Scott Wiener, who was a staunch supporter of second runner-up Dennis Herrera during the mayoral campaign.

“I think very highly of the mayor,” Wiener explained. “Even though I supported Dennis Herrera, it was because of my very positive feelings about Dennis Herrera, not out of any negativity toward the mayor.”

Winnicker said Lee welcomed the support of people who might not have originally endorsed his candidacy.

“This is an opportunity for people who support the mayor’s agenda to help retire the debt—which we’d like to do as soon as possible,” he said. 

To that end, this will be the first of several casual fundraisers, some hosted by people who backed other candidates but now support the mayor’s agenda.

“Now we’re all working together,” Winnicker said, “it’s time to govern.”

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