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Thursday, June 2, 2011

Joanna Rees Gives a Large Chunk of Money to Democratic Party for No Good Reason

Posted By on Thu, Jun 2, 2011 at 7:15 AM

click to enlarge The best way to support the Democratic Party is to JOIN the party
  • The best way to support the Democratic Party is to JOIN the party

In the San Francisco mayor's race Joanna Rees has played the part of the unknown, nonpolitical candidate who has confounded people by claiming to be a "progressive independent" -- whatever that means.

But now it seems the apolitical Rees just might be playing a little politics, albeit not well. We were intrigued by the fact that Reese, who is registered as "declined to state," kicked in a $2,500 contribution to the San Francisco Democratic Party. It's notable because she isn't a Dem, nor does she have any plans to join the party. Specifically, her donation bought her a 10-person table at the Democratic Unity luncheon on Monday.

In contrast, her opponents -- who are registered Democrats -- contributed much smaller amounts of $250 and $750.

So what will this unusually generous donation get Rees?

Not an endorsement.

The Democratic Party cannot and will not endorse a candidate who isn't a registered Democrat, which makes sense. So we called Rees' campaign manager, Nick Panagopoulos, who told us that Rees made the contribution for no other reason than to show she supports the Democratic Party, even if it's not her home base.

"We'd love to have their support, but we're not seeking their official endorsement," he says.

So let's get this straight: In essence, Rees' money will be used strictly to help support and elect her Democratic opponent in the mayor's race.

"I'm perplexed. It's odd that someone who is not a Democrat is giving a lot of money to the Democratic Party," says David Latterman, a local political consultant who is also working on Supervisor David Chiu's campaign for mayor. "I wonder what she thinks she is going to get from it."

Good question.

We called Aaron Peskin, chairman of the Democratic Party, to find out whether she might get any favors or good tidings in return.

He told us he was pleasantly surprised to receive such a plump contribution in hard times -- and from someone who won't even be getting a candidate interview! Peskin said he has never met Rees or spoken to her, but assures us that her check is much appreciated and will go toward advancing "Democratic ideals."

And that doesn't include supporting a progressive independent.

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About The Author

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert was the Online News Editor for SF Weekly from 2010 to 2015. She's a Texas native and has a closet full of cowboy boots to prove it.


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