Lee Candidacy Would Transform San Francisco Mayor’s Race

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – With indications growing that San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee will run for election this fall, political pundits and the candidates themselves must reconsider the odds of who might win the election.

“With a voting system half the voters don’t understand, all of the candidates resourced through public financing, I would be very careful about making any predictions,” said Eric Jaye, the political consultant behind Assessor Phil Ting’s mayoral campaign.

Lee’s candidacy would add a whole new dimension to an already crowded contest, forcing the 9 other mayoral candidates to work twice as hard to overcome the incumbent’s advantage.

KCBS’ Barbara Taylor Reports:

The mayor would become the instant front runner to keep his job, while the other candidates scrambled not to be left in the dust.

Board of Supervisors President David Chiu, who helped appoint Lee as interim mayor, only entered the race after the longtime city administrator offered assurances there would be no competing bid.

“I have believed that he is a man of integrity who is going to keep his word, and I hope he will do that,” Chiu said.

A Lee candidacy would be a body blow to serious candidates.

Chiu said he’s staying in the race regardless, having collected 13,000 signatures and raised $900,000 including half a million in public funds.

“We are running an extremely strong campaign, and we are running full steam ahead. And we’ll see what happens next week,” Chiu said.

Jaye meanwhile sees a very fluid field and is bracing for lots of twists and turns over the next hundred days.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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