Gay attorney David Waggoner is one step closer to announcing a run against gay San Francisco District 8 Supervisor Scott Wiener this fall.
For nearly a year Waggoner has considered entering the race but remained noncommittal about a candidacy as pressure mounted among progressives to recruit a formidable challenger to the moderate Wiener.
With the June 10 filing deadline fast approaching, Waggoner pulled papers with elections officials May 30. In a phone interview with the Bay Area Reporter Tuesday morning (June 3), he indicated that he will likely enter the race.
“If I had to make a decision right now, I would say I am a candidate,” said Waggoner.
Yet the nonprofit lawyer could still opt against taking on Wiener, especially if Sara Shortt, a lesbian and executive director of the Housing Rights Committee of San Francisco, enters the race.
In recent weeks calls have grown for Shortt to run for the District 8 seat, which covers the gay Castro district, Noe Valley, Diamond Heights, and Glen Park. Shortt did not immediately respond to requests for comment Tuesday morning on her intentions.
If Shortt decides to run, Waggoner was uncertain if he would also enter the race. One concern is that if Shortt and Waggoner both run against Wiener, they would divide the progressive vote. Under the city’s instant voter runoff system, a progressive split could give Wiener an advantage.
Wiener is already seen as a formidable opponent who will be well-funded in his re-election bid. Current political wisdom says that Wiener, due to his incumbent status and proven success on the campaign trail, will be hard to defeat.
A few critics of Wiener have indicated they intend to run against him, including nudity activist George Davis and gay activist Michael Petrelis. A more recent entrant in the race was Simon Timony, who won accolades for trying to protect a Muni bus from rioters following the San Francisco Giant’s World Series win in 2012.
The results of today’s primary race for a state Assembly seat between San Francisco Supervisors David Chiu and David Campos could also impact Waggoner’s decision on running for supervisor. Campos, who is gay, has been hit by supporters of Chiu, who is straight and has considerable support among the LGBT community, for his voting not to oust Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi from office after he pleaded guilty to domestic violence charges stemming from an incident involving his wife in 2011.
Waggoner served as Mirkarimi’s attorney as he fought the charges, and the issue is sure to be a line of attack against him if he does run for supervisor. Wiener, who is supporting Chiu for Assembly, voted to remove Mirkarimi as sheriff.
If the issue dents support for Campos, who has been aggressive about turning out his supporters to the polls today, it could sway Waggoner against entering the supervisor race.
Others argue Waggoner’s role in the political scandal that transfixed the city for the better part of a year could actually be a benefit to him. Writing on his blog Petrelis noted that “given the wall-to-wall local media coverage of the Mirkarimi mess and David’s legal representation of him, I’d say he has the best name recognition of all District 8 challengers.”
Waggoner said he is likely to make a final decision about a candidacy later this week.
“I just want to make sure it is right for me to run,” he said.