Daly will not run for mayor

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By Tim Redmond

Sup. Chris Daly, who was talking over the past few days about a campaign for mayor, has decided against it. He sent a statement tonight; I'll post the whole thing:

Progressive Allies and Friends,

For the past 6.5 years, we have enjoyed strong
progressive politics in San Francisco. Progressive
San Francisco has delivered a new era of worker’s
rights with the nation’s highest minimum wage,
universal health coverage, and paid sick days.
Requiring significant amounts of affordable housing
and other public benefits, we’ve made development work
for communities. We've set the agenda on workers'
rights, housing, health care, city services,
transportation, and the environment. Our political
opponents, even holding the office of Mayor, have been
on the defensive.

Despite our political strength and its marquis
standing in local political races, it's clear that
we've had difficulty engaging in this year's Mayor's
race. Progressives share a principled critique of the
personality-driven politics practiced by our
opponents. We elevate the issues important to
everyday people above our own political advancement
and personal self-interest. We are right to do so.
Unfortunately, this does not always translate well
into the mainstream and corporate-controlled media.

For the better part of a year, I felt a great deal of
responsibility to find a strong progressive candidate
for Mayor, all the while acknowledging that I was not
our best possible candidate. There were discussions,
caucuses, lunches, and even a Progressive Convention
aimed at compelling a progressive entry into the race.
With news last week of the final potential candidate
forgoing the race, I decided to take another look at
making a run.

This past week Progressive San Francisco produced a
flurry of activity about that possibility. I was
heartened and inspired that so many were willing to
step up in the face of significant odds. Dozens of
you dropped what you were doing to spend hours on end
with me this week. Hundreds pledged your support.
The outpouring gave me hope that we do have what it
takes to take back Room 200 and deliver social and
economic justice to San Francisco.

However, I have decided not to file a candidacy for
the Office of Mayor.

Given the negative, million-dollar campaign against me
last year, there was never a question that this
Mayor's race would be brutal. The incumbent promised
as much in a meeting this week. Our ideas are better,
and I was committed to running a campaign about our
issues. But most of us had reservations about whether
we'd ever be able to achieve resonance on the issues
against the tide of hits, personal attacks, and media
hype of the Newsom vs. Daly personality clash.

Sarah and I arrived at last night's meeting with the
intention of announcing my entry into the race and
were moved by everyone's willingness to act on faith.
When I called on progressives for support for a
Mayoral run, progressives responded. But I also
sensed that the reservations in the room were real.
Progressives are certainly ready to vie for the
Mayor's seat, but, unfortunately, I am not the right
candidate.

There is some good news. Progressives are much
stronger than we were the last time we didn't field a
challenger for Mayor. Back in '83, the progressive
movement had not recovered from the Milk/Moscone
assassinations and the subsequent repeal of district
elections. Dianne Feinstein enjoyed great popularity
after soundly squashing a recall effort. She went on
to easily win reelection later that year.

Four years later it appeared as if downtown's reign
would continue with the front-running candidacy of
John Molinari. His bid, however, was upset when Art
Agnos united San Francisco's left with a disciplined,
sustained, and effective campaign.

We all know that electoral work is just a part of the
overall effort we need to put forth. There is no
substitute for the basics of organizing and serving
our people so they can live with dignity. I will
always remain committed to the struggle and to
building progressive politics and people power in San
Francisco for the years to come.

Solidarity,

Chris Daly

It would have been a hell of a race, but I respect his decision. Now it's time to focus on the Board of Supervisors races in 2008.