By Tim Redmond
I think Luke Thomas at FCJ is the first one to officially claim to have unofficially announced that Matt Gonzalez is really running for mayor. But everyone in town is talking about it, and the typical discussion is around not whether but when he will join the race.
There are two conflicting schools of thought here. Some think Gonzalez would need to get in soon if he's going to raise money and be taken seriously. Others (including, I suspect, Matt himself) would rather wait until the end of the summer and get in at the last minute.
Personally, I think the late-entry plan is a mistake. Four yeas ago, nobody expected Gonzalez to enter the race; he wasn't even a factor in the discussions. I was on a tv show with him about three months before he wound up entering the race, and we both agreed that it was unlikely there would be any candidates beyond Gavin Newsom, Tom Ammiano and Angela Alioto. There really was a last-minute draft-Gonzalez movement when it became clear that Newsom was headed for an easy victory; part of his appeal was the novelty of it all.
Of course, he pissed a lot of people off, especially in the queer community, but jumping in and effectlively shooting down Ammiano's campaign. But I don't think it was a sneaky pre-meditated strategy. Gonzalez can be an impulsive guy; he just decided one day to go for it.
This time, anything he does late in the game will be seen as nothing more than a political strategy. It will look as if he's intentionally holding back to see who else runs, to let the race play out a bit, and to give himself an advantage. That won't fly so well in 2007.
There's already too much talk; too many people have too much riding on this. We need a progressive candidate, and if it's not Gonzalez, then perhaps someone else will enter (and Gonzalez will look like a spoiler at the end). If he's going to run -- and I hope he does -- he should decide soon and get on with it.
I called Gonzalez today, and he insisted that he hasn't made any announcement, prive or public, official or unofficial. "I'm not running for mayor," he said. "I've made that point over and over again. I have said that I've thought about it, and I have. But I'm not getting in anyone's way, and if another strong candidate wants to run, they should go ahead."
I told him that I think he needs to make a final decision soon, and rule himself out if he isn't going to run. "I agree with that," he said.