Reporting Phil Matier
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SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – Every indication is that interim San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee will announce very soon that he’s entering the mayor’s race to seek a full term, according to KCBS and Chronicle Insider Phil Matier.
The columnist said Friday that Lee’s evasive responses during their most recent interview were classic non-answers that could only mean he plans to declare his candidacy well before the Aug. 12 filing deadline.
“He’s going to announce Monday. I sat down with him. I asked him seven times, something like that, are you running, are you running?” Matier said.
Lee gave a very familiar answer, reiterating yet again that he hadn’t made up his mind. As Matier recounted it, Lee plans to spend the weekend talking it over with his family.
“He was doing the abba-dabba, to be honest,” Matier said.
KCBS And Chronicle Insider Phil Mater:
The question of whether Lee would seek election has echoed through San Francisco City Hall since the former city administrator was appointed less than a year ago to fill out the remainder of newly elected Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom’s term.
During his latest conversation with Matier, Lee reportedly ticked off with ease the many reasons why a run for office made sense.
“So I said, give me three reasons why you won’t run, and he was stumped,” Matier said.
Matier noted that Lee has been laying the groundwork for some time, reporting in a recent column, that Lee has been in talks with veteran political consultant Ace Smith.
Smith has ties with the Clintons and can boast three recent successes—the attorney general campaigns of Kamala Harris and Jerry Brown and Newsom’s run for lieutenant governor.
One of Lee’s key backers, former Assembly Speaker and San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, would not trump Lee’s hand even when pressed on live radio Friday.
“I’ve been trying my best to get San Franciscans to tell him to run, to urge him run, to plead with him to run,” Brown said, adding that Lee’s aversion to politics meant seasoned politicians held little sway in arguing the merits of getting into an already crowded campaign field.
“You ought to run if you can win. You shouldn’t run if you can’t. It’s just that simple, which means two-thirds of the people in the race ought to be out,” Brown said.
Lee’s candidacy would transform the race, and nervous opponents have already united behind an investigation into the role of Brown’s longtime ally, Rose Pak, in Progress For All, the political action committee behind the Run, Ed, Run campaign.
You can hear Phil Matier’s comments Monday through Friday at 7:50am and 5:50pm on KCBS All News 740AM and 106.9FM.
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