Bevan Dufty Throws Hat, Goatee Into SF Mayor's Race

A gay man runs for mayor -- and he'd be the mainstream candidate

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Bevan Dufty
    San Francisco Supervisor Bevan Dufty is eyeing the mayor's office.

    A family man with business-friendly credentials as mayor of San Francisco?

    On the surface, it's hard to see how Supervisor Bevan Dufty, who just announced plans to run for San Francisco's top job in 2011, is different from its current inhabitant, Gavin Newsom.

    Like Newsom, Dufty is a centrist -- for the ultraliberal hotbed of San Francisco, at any rate. And like Newsom, Dufty has a young daughter. But oh, there's this -- Dufty, whose district as supervisor embraces the Castro, is gay.

    In 21st century San Francisco, that Dufty prefers the gay mecca of Provincetown as a vacation spot seems like an electoral asset, if anything. But the city's fraught history with gay political candidates will inevitably make it a subject of conversation.

    Memories of slain Supervisor Harvey Milk, a gay man killed by a former colleague on the board, run deep in the City. And two decades on, there's still bitterness in some gay political circles over Harry Britt's narrow loss in a bid to represent San Francisco in the House of Representatives in 1987 -- to none other than current Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

    Dufty acknowledges that there are many pages to turn on the calendar until the election but says he’s raring to go.

    “I’m more than ready and you should expect me to be on your street corner soon,” Dufty said. “I think this time will give me the opportunity to talk with a broad cross section of the community.”

    Dufty plans to run a “very grassroots, low-dollar campaign.” When Dufty ran for the Board of Supervisors, he limited the contributions that individual donors could give to his campaign to $100. For his mayoral campaign, he will allow $200 contributions

    He may well need the money. The San Francisco Chronicle points out that Dufty faces a crowded field of potential opponents, including a fellow supervisor:

    State Sen. Leland Yee and City Attorney Dennis Herrera are expected to run; we've also heard rumors that Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi and Public Defender Jeff Adachi may be eyeing Room 200.

    Despite the competition, Dufty seems well-positioned: He's already signed up Steve Hildebrand, Barack Obama's former deputy campaign manager, to run his bid for office. Will Hildebrand deliver an Obama endorsement? That's not why he was hired, Hildebrand told the Bay Area Reporter. But the White House connection may boost Dufty's fundraising in a city that gave 84 percent of its vote to Obama.

    Traci Grant contributed to this report.