Mayoral candidates alike are raging over Mayor Ed Lee's abrupt entrance into the fray. But not Bevan Dufty -- at least not in public. The former supervisor, who helped Lee attain his current position as interim mayor, has bent over backwards to welcome Lee as a worthy opponent.
Even at the Castro Theater candidates' forum this week, while members of the audience booed Lee and fellow candidates fired off scathing remarks, Dufty had the mayor's back. "If you can't get booed here, then you aren't breathing," Dufty said at the forum.
So we have to ask -- what's with all the brown-nosing? What's in it for Dufty? A sweet gig at City Hall?
The hot rumor is that Dufty's killing-Lee-with-kindness attitude is all politics at its worst. Political insiders have said Dufty is angling to get Lee's old job of city administrator. For what it's worth, the following Tweet was posted on the Lie, Ed, Lie fake Twitter feed:
"@BevanDufty is making me teary-eyed with his closing. I'm going to appoint him City Administrator when I'm elected. #sfmayor/"
"No, no," Dufty told us. "I'm not getting a job, and I don't know why people have to be so disparaging because I am welcoming someone into the race. People are denigrating me because I'm not lowering myself in this race."
Dufty -- who is notorious for being fickle himself -- tells us that he just doesn't fault Lee for changing his mind about running for mayor. In fact, Dufty had initially said he wanted Sheriff Michael Hennessey to be appointed interim mayor only to do a last-minute flipflop and cast his vote for Lee.
"I changed my mind, so who would I be to now point the finger and say he's bad?" Dufty says.
In fact, Dufty -- who made his political ascension while working under Willie Brown -- has openly admitted his strategy, at this point, is just to pick up as many of
Lee's No. 2 votes as he can. Ultimately, that is his best chance of winning this race.
When asked if he had any questions to pose to Lee, Dufty was recently quoted in a Chron article saying: "Can I be your No. 2?"
Jim Ross, a local political consultant, tells us that it's possible picking up Lee's second-place votes could help Dufty -- but probably not enough to win the election.
"He's more likely to win if he's in the top two," Ross says. "But Bevan still has strengths that remain -- he is the only gay candidate so his base isn't divided like Ed Lee's."