Rivals gather to denounce front-running San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee

Five candidates in the mayoral race gathered on the steps of City Hall on Thursday morning with a galvanized message denouncing Mayor Ed Lee for allowing corruption to surround him.

Lee doesn’t appear to be the direct target of probes recently launched by the District Attorney’s Office and the state Fair Political Practices Commission, but the mayor’s rivals say he’s ultimately responsible for the allegedly laundered contributions to his campaign and potential voter fraud by an independent group supporting him.

“Either he doesn’t get it, or he doesn’t want to get it,” said state Sen. Leland Yee, a candidate in the race. “Either way, it is wrong.”

Lee is the clear front-runner in the race according to every poll conducted so far, with only five days to go until the contentious election season ends Tuesday.

Yee was joined by City Attorney Dennis Herrera, Public Defender Jeff Adachi, entrepreneur Joanna Rees and former Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier, who said “any strong leader would have prevented this from happening.”

Lee’s campaign — asserting that the mayor is actually a victim of the corruption claims — called the press conference a “dogpile” of “desperate” candidates.

“We expected this in the last days of the election,” said Tony Winnicker, Lee’s campaign spokesman.

dschreiber@sfexaminer.com

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