The upcoming mayor’s race has its newest major candidate: Supervisor Jane Kim, who pulled papers to run for mayor Wednesday from the Department of Elections.
“You’re not going to ask me why I’m here?” Kim jokingly asked department staff Wednesday morning, who have been anticipating rumored mayoral hopefuls.
SEE RELATED: Candidates begin to file for SF’s June mayor race
Her June 2018 mayoral run would see her go toe-to-toe against former state Sen. Mark Leno, former Supervisor Angela Alioto, homeless advocate Amy Farrah Weiss and other filed candidates. Rumored candidates who have yet to file include Acting Mayor London Breed, Supervisors Mark Farrell, Assemblymember David Chiu and City Attorney Dennis Herrera.
“It’s a big step but I love what I do,” she said moments after filing paperwork with the Department of Elections. “I love serving The City.”
Though Kim ran an unsuccessful state Senate campaign against then-Supervisor Scott Wiener in 2016, she’s seen by politicos as a major front-runner largely because of that race.
Voter recognition is the name of the game in elections (though, yes, races should really should just be about the issues), and her recent state Senate run — and recent success with her Free City College initiative — mean San Franciscans know her name.
Polls passed around between political consultants behind the scenes show Kim’s name recognition running neck-and-neck with Leno.
By contrast, Breed’s name recognition was far lower at the time of those polls, which were taken earlier this year — though I would expect that’s changed somewhat after the death of Mayor Ed Lee on Dec. 12, which has catapulted Breed’s name into headlines.
Kim also said she would continue some policies of the late mayor’s.
“I think it’s important to continue his legacy as a tenants’ rights attorney,” she said. “And the major initiative he announced to get 1,000 people off his streets.”
San Francisco’s economic inequality would be Kim’s cornerstone issue, she said.
“That’s the biggest policy conundrum in the room, how can we address our growing wealth gap?” she said.
Kim built strong ties with the Chinese community as an organizer at the Chinatown Community Development Center. She also served as an attorney at Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights, and as president of the San Francisco Board of Education.
Those political ties, and history of organizing, lead many in the political world to speculate one of San Francisco’s biggest voting blocs — San Francisco Chinese voters — may swing toward Kim.
That isn’t guaranteed, however. Attacks against Kim in Chinese-language newspapers during her state Senate run eroded some of the community’s support.
On Guard prints the news and raises hell each week. Email Fitz at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow him on Twitter and Instagram @FitztheReporter, and Facebook at facebook.com/FitztheReporter.