Supervisor John Avalos said today he is definitely running for San Francisco mayor.
Avalos, the true-blue progressive who represents the Mission and Excelsior neighborhoods, says he and his wife will go to the Department of Elections at 4 p.m. to sign the paperwork, officially declaring his candidacy.
"I am concerned about the city and where it is now," Avalos told SF Weekly. "I want to build an administration that will bring out the best of San Francisco."
While late to the race, Avalos already stands out in the crowded field of candidates.
It's not just because he represents the left-of-the-left in San Francisco: Avalos is the only candidate who is proudly running an ideologically based campaign.
"You ask any other candidate in this race if they are a progressive or a moderate liberal and they will dance around the question," says Jim Ross, a local political consultant. "He's the only one who says, 'I'm progressive and that's who I am.'"
Ross was correct. When SF Weekly called Avalos to ask about his platform, he said he would be representing the progressive mold of San Francisco. He then quickly shifted into campaign mode, adding, "But I will represent all of San Francisco."
That might be a tough sell to the "moderate" voters of San Francisco, who twice elected Gavin Newsom as their chief executive. Avalos is a likable populist whose policies deeply resonate with the city's working class. For that reason, he will certainly attract labor and die-hard liberals who have had much angst about the loss of power among progressives at City Hall.
Avalos initially said he would not run for mayor. But he changed his tune in the last few weeks, after former Supervisor Chris Daly said he would jump into the race if no other progressive did.
No doubt Avalos is a serious candidate, but the question is could he win?
"He had his local hire and other populist legislation pass and if he runs a campaign on that, I think he could win," Ross says.
One of the potential setbacks in this campaign -- aside from getting a late start on raising money -- is former Supervisor Chris Daly, Avalos' former boss and colleague, who perfected the skill of polarizing voters.
"John Avalos will be carrying a Chris Daly-shaped backpack through the campaign," Ross says. "Chris Daly is a burden John Avalos will have to bear."
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