State Sen. and San Francisco mayoral candidate Leland Yee is gaining attention for publicizing threats made against him by a fan of right-wing radio personality Rush Limbaugh.
The publicity, which has spread nationwide, comes as Yee is competing in a crowded mayor of San Francisco race just 10 months away.
The threat came more than a week after Yee condemned remarks Limbaugh made as offensive to the Chinese community. Yee spokesman Adam Keigwin said the decision to publicly release the threat had nothing to do with the mayor’s race.
But others questioned Yee’s motive.
“Leland is making a big deal publicizing these threats,” said San Francisco political consultant David Latterman. “Is it for political gain? Who knows?”
The day after Yee went public with the threat, he sent out another press release explaining, “We should never allow such racist vitriol to go unchallenged.”
The same release said: “Yee received death threats via racist, expletive-laden faxes that contained a graphic of an American flag adorned pickup truck dragging a noose.”
University of San Francisco politics professor Corey Cook said that these kinds of threats have little to do with politics.
“It’s not going to help him politically,” Cook said.
Yee had called on Limbaugh to apologize to the Chinese community for mocking Chinese President Hu Jintao’s speech on his Jan. 18 program. Limbaugh complained on his show about a Fox News broadcast that omitted translation of Hu’s words and then for 18 seconds spoke gibberish Chinese.
“Normally they translate every couple of words, but Hu Jintao was just going ‘chin chong, chin chong cha,’” Limbaugh said. More than 10,000 supporters signed Yee’s online petition calling on Limbaugh to apologize “for mocking the Chinese culture” and for sponsors of the radio show to stop advertising on the program.