Mayoral candidates scurry for signatures

Chiu-bacca, and just plain Chiu, gather signatures in Dolores Park.
Steven T. Jones

San Francisco mayoral candidates and their volunteers have been scrambling to gather the signatures of registered voters needed to reduce their filing fees and demonstrate popular support, over the weekend hitting popular gathering spots such as Dolores Park with a combination of earnest appeals and election-year gimmicks.

Volunteers for candidate John Avalos were the first to hit a crowded Dolores Park on Saturday, canvassing throughout the day, but they may have been upstaged by the campaign of David Chiu, which featured both the candidate himself and his Star Wars-inspired alter ego Chiu-bacca – a campaign volunteer dressed up as Chewbacca. The campaign even carried the motif through at the table it set up, which was staffed by someone in a space helmet that was reminiscent of a stormtrooper. No other mayoral or district attorney candidates seemed to have a visible presence there.

A Clonetrooper for David Chiu

Candidates have until this Thursday, July 28, to turn in the signatures of registered voters, each of which reduces that candidate's filing fees by 50 cents. So mayoral candidates can eliminate their $5,048 filing fee (which represents 2 percent of the mayor's $252,397 annual salary) by turning in 10,096 signatures. For district attorney candidates, the goal is 8,704 sigs, while sheriff candidates need 7,990 to get the freebie.

An Avalos volunteer gathers signatures (and possibly PBRs)

The other important upcoming election-related dates are Aug. 1, when the semi-annual campaign finance statements are due and we find out who's been raising the most money, and Aug. 12, the deadline for candidates to file their intent to run for office. That's when we find out whether Mayor Ed Lee breaks his pledge not to run, and whether there are any other surprise late entrants into the race, which is always a possibility.