Interim Mayor Ed Lee has repeatedly said he won’t run for a full term in November, but that hasn’t stopped several groups with different political allegiances from creating independent campaigns to keep him in office.
Over the weekend, dozens of signs with Lee’s bespectacled and mustachioed visage popped up around The City in laundry centers, liquor stores and restaurants urging, “Run Ed Run!” The political action committee behind the campaign, Progress for All, also launched a website with San Franciscans of all stripes urging Lee to enter the crowded race.
One of the members on the campaign committee is Christina Olague, president of the Planning Commission and a longtime housing activist.
“I’m pretty pleased with how he’s conducting himself as mayor,” Olague said. “He can say that he won’t run, but I think at a minimum we want to send a communication that he’s giving a good example of how a mayor should be.”
Another separate campaign was launched Monday by Library Commission member Michael Breyer. That Facebook campaign has more than 1,000 followers. A third movement was started by former supervisors Michael Yaki and Jim Gonzalez.
“I’m still saying no,” Lee said Monday. “It’s kind of fun to see. I know they’re going to put a lot of pressure on drafting me. I just haven’t paid attention to it.”
A fourth campaign set up by former Supervisor Chris Daly is calling on all the Lee fans to “Let Ed Be.” While Daly believes Lee already plans to run, he is trying to convince all of the Lee fans to leave the man alone and let him return as city administrator.
Progress for All is being run by a progressive campaign consulting firm, Left Coast Communications, that recently helped elect Supervisor Jane Kim.
Enrique Pearce of Left Coast Communications refused to disclose who has donated to Progress for All so far.
As an independent committee, Progress for All doesn’t have to contend with individual contribution limits. Donations to mayoral candidates by individuals are limited to $500.
John St. Croix, executive director of the Ethics Commission, said the various campaigns to draft Lee are possibly in uncharted legal territory in San Francisco.
“I don’t know if it’s been done before,” said St. Croix, referring to the campaigns that have been launched to support someone who has expressed no interest in running. “We’re going to have to watch it all play out.”
Staff Writer Katie Worth contributed to this report.