Ed Lee for Mayor -- Even If He Won't Run

June 22, 2011

Originally published at New America Media.

by Andrew Lam

Ed Lee, the current mayor of San Francisco, has declared that he won’t run in the re-election, but that doesn’t mean his fans and supporters will take it lying down.

“Ed Lee is getting support to run beyond the SF political establishment of House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi’s former aide Michael Yaki, and former Mayor Dianne Feinstein’s former supervisor appointee Jim Gonzales,” reports AsianWeek.

And on Facebook, the movement to draft him is underfoot. The "draftedlee" page so far has more than 1,000 people who “liked” it. On its wall one ardent fan writes:

“Mr lee this city needs you ! You are a smart man but also unlike most of the board members , a decent man. We cannot give this city up to punks like David Chiu or a man who shows up to work In Hawaiin shirts (John avalos) we need u!”

Another Facebook page, "Write-in Ed Lee for Mayor," declares: “Edwin Mah Lee is the 43rd Mayor of San Francisco, come November lets extend his employment.”

The fact that Ed Lee, who was reluctant to become mayor in the first place, is not running doesn’t mean people can’t write him in. And Lee, according to Asianweek, “could pass up the easier election route and not file by the July 28 deadline to conventionally appear on the regular November 8 ballot.” The mayor pro tem could simply “enter the unconventional write-in route by filing between September 12 and October 25th.”

So far, several major Asian-American leaders in the city -- including Gordon Chin, who runs Chinatown Community Development Center, Assistant District Attorney Victor Hwang and immigrant rights activist Eddy Zheng -- are petitioning San Franciscans to write-in the reluctant mayor.

San Franciscans famously led a write-in campaign for Tom Ammiano in 1999, which catapulted Ammiano into the December runoff, where he ended up losing to Willie Brown 57 percent to 43 percent.

Of course this year, ranked choice voting has replaced the runoff election.

And, according to AsianWeek, "There’s one advantage: Lee’s name is easier to spell than mayoral candidate Tom Ammiano’s name on the 1999 write-in ballot."

Andrew Lam is author of
"East Eats West: Writing in Two Hemispheres." and "Perfume Dreams: Reflections on the Vietnamese Diaspora."