There’s a shortage of challengers to Mayor Ed Lee– but the progressives have no lack of candidates for the next races for supervisor
By Tim Redmond
APRIL 20, 2015 – While everyone is lamenting the lack of a candidate to challenge Ed Lee, the progressives are actually working to develop candidates for supervisor in 2016, and it’s looking like an impressive lineup.
The odd-numbered districts are up next year.
In District 11, where Ahsha Safai, a loser in 2008, is once more trying to be the landlord and downtown candidate, Kimberly Alvarenga, former chief of staff to Assemblymember Tom Ammiano and current political director for SEIU Local 1021, is taking a serious look at the race.
Alvarenga would have immediate and strong support from the progressives, thanks to her long history of community work. She’s well known in the district, where she’s lived since 2008. And she would have labor – a big factor in D11, where there are a lot of labor households.
She would also almost certainly have the support of the incumbent, John Avalos, who is termed out – and remains very popular in the district.
Safai might have the mayor, but Ed Lee has not shown a lot of coattails in the past. And with all the questions that came up the last time he ran – particularly around real estate – he is hardly an immediate frontrunner.
Meanwhile, Sup. London Breed could be facing a serious challenge from tenant advocate Dean Preston. Preston, who runs the statewide advocacy group Tenants Together, told me he’s looking at running in D5 in 2016 – and while it’s hard to oust an incumbent, Preston would challenge Breed from the left in what remains one of the city’s most progressive districts.
He will have strong support from tenants, who are a majority in the district, and will be able to raise enough money to run a very competitive race.
Of course, there’s already a race in D3, and anyone who has any sense would have to agree that former Sup. Aaron Peskin has a good chance of ousting Lee’s appointee, Julie Christensen.
I’m not sure who is going to run when Sup. Eric Mar steps down in D1, but it’s safe to say there will be a progressive candidate. I hear School Board Member Sandy Fewer is thinking about it.
And let’s keep in mind that while Lee is personally popular (right now), there’s polling data showing that his job performance is not. Only 38 percent of the voters polled think Lee is doing a good job. That’s not much of an endorsement of what he’s doing.
So the mayor has Ron Conway, and has scared any major candidate from running against him – but the progressives are hardly dead. And outside of the Mayor’s Office, in a couple of years they could be back to setting the legislative agenda for the city.