State Senate candidate Jane Kim ‘challenges’ Scott Wiener to Pokemon Go – and he agrees

San Francisco’s political battle of the year just took a decidedly nerdy turn.

State senate candidate – and current city supervisor – Jane Kim on Tuesday challenged her rival, Supervisor Scott Wiener, to a Pokemon Go “challenge.”

And to the surprise of anyone who knows the studious, and often serious Wiener, he actually said yes.

As On Guard reported Tuesday, Pokemon Go fever hit San Francisco as hard as anywhere in the country.

More than 5,000 fans of the Nintendo game are slated to play the game outdoors together next week, according to Facebook, and city agencies like the San Francisco Police Department and even local businesses are issuing Pokemon-related announcements.

Even with so many Pokemon-lovers swarming San Francisco, it’s a surprise to see our local politicians –– who usually sound the alarm on dire issues like housing and homelessness –– jockeying to “catch ‘em all.”

Kim issued her challenge via Twitter shortly after 11 a.m. Tuesday, tweeting “Ok @Scott_Wiener – one last challenge: this is it. Maybe this will get a yes! Will you #PokemonGO?”

Wiener took only an hour to reply, and tweeted, “Finally, a real challenge @JaneKim! Game on!”

In a text message to On Guard, Kim said, “it was just to insert some humor and lightheartedness” into the Senate race.

The two agreed to #PokemonPledge as the hashtag for their challenge, but have yet to work out other details of how their challenge will function.

Since Kim indicated on Twitter she may need to “learn the game,” and both supervisors may be new to the world of Pikachu and silly fictional pocket monsters, perhaps On Guard could humbly suggest some options.

In the game, players must physically –– in the real world –– walk through cities to catch Pokemon, short for pocket monsters, and battle to take over turf. The closest “Pokemon Gym” to City Hall that Kim and Wiener could battle for is the Asian Art Museum.

Pokemon Go lacks any formal “one on one” battle mode, but the two candidates could easily try to capture as many gyms in their supervisorial districts as possible in the course of an hour. Or, maybe they could organize their constituents to compete and capture as many gyms as possible – and to tweet screenshots of the win under the #PokemonPledge hashtag.

And don’t forget, Pokemon Go players can join either team Instinct, Mystic, or Valor (yellow, blue and red, respectively). Team colors could factor into the “challenge” somehow.

That last one was the suggestion Sal Mattos, an editor at, who tweeted at the candidates, “I would like to see this #PokemonGO-off happen. What team is each of you gonna join? Votes may be on the line.”

Any way you slice it, the “challenge” is sure to be ridiculous –– and perhaps much needed after some early barbs were exchanged between the two colleagues.

Recently, Kim publicly challenged Wiener to keep their state Senate campaign positive, perhaps looking for a way to head off some of the decidedly awful mailers seen during other recent local campaigns. (Cough – Ross Mirkarimi – cough).

Wiener shot back that Kim was trying to avoid debate about her record.

Both missives were filled to the brim with scorching accusations. Maybe a water-type Pokemon can help the two cool their heels?

“We didn’t get the response we wanted” on that campaign challenge, Kim told On Guard. “But at least we can have fun with this one.”

In a text message, Wiener wrote, “I’m sure there will be plenty of lightheartedness and plenty of seriousness” in this campaign.

For those who are curious, Kim’s starter Pokemon was an orange, diminutive dragon with a flame on its tail called Charmander.

That leaves just one question –– which candidate will be the very best, like no one ever was?

Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez’s Pokemon Go screen name is FitztheReporter, and he fights for team Instinct. Email him at

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