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Thursday, September 24, 2009

There's a Method to the Madness of Bevan Dufty Officially Declaring Himself a Mayoral Candidate Two Years Prior to the Election

Posted By on Thu, Sep 24, 2009 at 3:30 PM

click to enlarge Supervisor Bevan Dufty says he has no reason to be coy about running for mayor
  • Supervisor Bevan Dufty says he has no reason to be coy about running for mayor
Onlookers may be thrown off when they notice Christmas decor gracing shop windows well before the first day of school. But it's a good bet the merchants aren't just inordinately fond of egg nog and frosty weather -- they want to start the jingle bells of cash registers that goes along with Christmas shopping.

Similarly, Supervisor Bevan Dufty has pulled his own "Christmas in September" maneuver by this morning officially filing to run for mayor -- a good two years prior to the election. Dufty's concerns are also largely monetary. In a nutshell, he's looking to raise a goodly sum of cash, but won't accept more than $200 at a time, tops. So, naturally, that's going to take a bit of time.

"I don't want everyone to look at me and think 'he's going to ask me for $500,'" the maximum allowable campaign contribution, Dufty told SF Weekly. "Basically, I'm going to start out asking people to give me $100 this year so I can build my organization. Next year I'll ask for another $100. I'll send the message that I'm not going to be controlled by my contributions."

So, in addition to being "the Muni guy," Dufty wants to be "the small contribution guy." Naturally, this takes a little time: Only contributions given to Dufty after April of next year count toward his tally for public funds. He hopes to raise $100,000 or so this year to start funding his operation and then amass the roughly $550,000 next year that'll trigger $1.475 million in matching funds. With a war chest of $2 million, Dufty thinks he can compete -- and political analysts SF Weekly spoke to were inclined to agree. 

"Bevan's greatest strength is the ability to walk door to door and connect with people and really find out what they're thinking," said Sam Lauter, a principal at Barnes, Mosher, Whitehurst, Lauter & Partners. "He's going to take advantage of that greatest strength and that does take a long time."

It also warrants mentioning that, as a termed-out supervisor, Dufty currently has no re-election apparatus in place. Gearing that up will take a little time and cash. "I am completing my second term on the board," says the supe. "There's no value in being coy about running for mayor."

While SF Weekly had heard rumors that a good early showing by Dufty might stave off the possibility of another gay, male, moderate, Jewish, District 8 candidate joining the fray -- namely Sen. Mark Leno -- Dufty, Lauter, and Leno himself downplayed this motivation.

"I am not trying to muscle anybody out of this race," said Dufty. Said Lauter, "I don't think Dufty's campaign flourishing will change the field." And Leno said he's not interested in running for mayor.

"As you know, I'm just completing my first year of a four-year senate term," he said. "To be forthright, I am focused on my legislative job. And one never says never, but [running for mayor] is not in my plans right now."

Does he then have a favored candidate? "You know, we are more than two years out," he says with a laugh. "It's a little early for me to say."

But not too early to run, it would seem.

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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