Word on the Street: Supervisor Mirkarimi Set to Announce Run For Mayor

Multiple sources tell us that progressive Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi is preparing to announce a run for mayor.  One source, a Valencia Street business owner, tells us Mirkarimi was on Valencia Friday night talking to a group of residents about his planned campaign.  The business owner noted Mirkarimi was “wearing a very slick suit” and “looked like a fashionable heir to Gavin Newsom.”

The second source, a person currently volunteering for the Supervisor's organization, said that she and other volunteers are expecting paid contracts once he formally declares his candidacy for the office.

Now, this isn't a blog dedicated to city politics (we recommend checking out SFist, The Snitch, and Greg Dewar's blog for such things), but we mention this because Mirkarimi is the first interesting candidate set to throw his hat in the ring.  He's similar to Gavin's 2003 mayoral rival Matt Gonzalez, who, like Mirkarimi, used to be in the Green Party, has been a darling of San Francisco's progressive community, and really, really likes weed.

However, Mirkarimi has already taken steps to avoid some of the pitfalls of the Gonzalez mayoral campaign.  Whereas Gonzalez narrowly lost to Newsom largely because the Democratic party, fearing a Green mayor, threw a lot of money and weight (Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Jesse Jackson) behind Newsom, Mirkarimi has already abandoned the party he helped found in favor of the Dems.  He has also worked to rebrand himself as a more pragmatic, less-tempermental progressive following his ill-fated 2009 run for Board of Supervisor President, which left him exposed as having both a bad temper and a poor management style.

Additionally, Mirkarimi's recent support of saving KUSF was a brilliant way to bring a large group of student activists, whom were instrumental in relative success of Gonzalez's 2003 run, into his campaign prior to a formal announcement.  That's not to say he wouldn't have taken up the cause anyway—I'm not that cynical—but rather it was a strategic way to spend his limited time.

If Mirkarimi is able to successfully rally his base, the mayoral race will likely come down to Mirkarimi vs. David Chiu (who hasn't announced his candidacy but is expected to run) or Dennis Herrera.  Either match-up will look a lot like Newsom vs. Gonzalez, with the progressive community split between economic classes (tenants, students, the Dolores Park crowd, and die hard liberals vs. business, older people, and conservatives with no other options).  Will he be able to pull it off?  I'm no pollster, but if he manages to minimize concerns over his temper, we might be able to get a mayor who can do more than wear a suit well.

(photo via Streetsblog)

Comments (13)

Wow. Good scoop.

Just thought it’s worth noting, considering all the comparison, that Mirkarimi was a top aide to Gonzalez and very instrumental in his campaign.

Anyway, I’d be very interested to see what Mirkarimi would put out there in a run against Chiu, Herrera (and Lee?) (and Dufty?), etc.

Do we really want a Mayor who talks just like Spicoli from “Fast Times at Ridgemont High?”

Me think not.


What are you talking about? He hardly talks like Spicoli. Mirkarimi speaks with confidence and conviction.

The first time I ever heard him speak, I was driving in a city car (how fitting) listening to KPOO just before the Nov 10’ Elections. They were asking his opinion on city measures, supe candidates, even national politics. He came off as extremely knowledgeable, well-researched and very pragmatic. I was like “who the hell is this!”

If his so-called ‘temper’ can be re-channeled and cast him as a ‘fighter,’ who will ‘get things done’ I think he could edge out Chiu as far as voter appeal. But Chiu seems like the guy-to-beat. He’s progressive enough for the lefties, but as a board president who caved to Newsom/Bown/Pak on Mayor Lee, he seems ‘safe’ enough for the establishment.

Maybe it’ll just come down to whomever the Dem and political elite in SF throw their weight behind. I dunno.

Wow! This is terrific news, Ross is a great guy and would make a great mayor!

This isn’t very surprising news. Sounds like Allioto and Mirkarimi are both running, now who else?

It is always funny to see Kevin do actual reportage

Sometimes I get bored of doodles spraypainted on walls.

I can see the big vein in Rob Anderson’s forehead begin to throb menacingly

Always great to see politics on Uptown Almanac! Nice breakdown on Ross. One quibble with your conclusion: for better or worse, this Mayor’s race will look nothing like 2003’s Gav-Gonzo showdown. Ranked Choice Voting means it will come down to some crazy calculus of 2nd and 3rd choice votes and who can get cross-over support from several of the City’s major constituencies (asian, gay, moderate/conservative, progressive, latino, etc.).

Which means we can all vote for Frank Chu with confidence and conviction.

No doubt, but I doubt any of the other campaigns are going anywhere (Bevan is already losing steam, Alioto-Pier will get some conservative votes, but probably not enough to carry her).