Ed Lee has prevailed in his bid for his second four-year term as mayor of San Francisco.
After raising more than $1 million and showing high popularity ratings in political polls, he scared off any viable candidate and ran virtually uncontested.
Though income inequality has grown and rents and evictions have soared under his watch during the past five years, Lee has proven an overall popularity with the electorate. Lee’s tenure is most noticeably marked by the boom of the technology industry, which he has promoted along with his prominent backer tech investor Ron Conway. The flourishing tech industry helped The City’s local economy soar out the Great Recession.
Still, Lee has faced sustained criticism from some members of the Board of Supervisors and community organizers that he is not doing enough to address housing costs and income inequality as he bows to monied interests. Median one bedroom rents in The City are in excess of $3,000.
Five candidates ran campaigns against Lee. Amy Weiss, a founder of the nonprofit Neighbors Developing Divisadero, which helped revitalize Harding Theater and create a large community garden; writer “Broke-Ass” Stuart Schuffman, who is also a columnist for the San Francisco Examiner; Francisco Herrera, a community organizer and musician; Reed Martin, a technology designer, and Kent Graham, a retired hospital administrator.
Schuffman had raised the most money among Lee’s challengers at $29,740. “For me, personally, I want to put up a good fight, show some good numbers and let the bastards know they can’t grind us down,” Schuffman said after early returns showed him with nearly 7 percent of the vote.
Lee was appointed interim mayor in 2011 to fill out the term vacated by Gavin Newsom, who was sworn in as lieutenant governor. At the time, Lee promised he would not run for a four-year term — only to serve as a caretaker. But he later changed his mind and fended off a crowded field of 15 other mayoral candidates by a wide margin to serve his first four-year term.
Antoinette Siu contributed to reporting.