David Chiu, Carmen Chu Opt Out of Mayoral Race

With two major Asian-American candidates rejecting a shot to run in June, the mayoral race tightens up to a few key players.

City Assessor Carmen Chu (left) and Assemblymember David Chiu (right). (Photos: SF Examiner)

Two major potential candidates for mayor announced independently Sunday and Monday that they would not enter the race, tightening the field for June’s election.

City Assessor-Recorder Carmen Chu was the first to publicly state that she would not be running for mayor. “I have been humbled by many of you who have reached out to encourage and ask that I run for Mayor. I appreciate and am inspired by your confidence in me to do the job,” Chu stated in a news release. “After much reflection with my family and loved ones, I have decided that I best serve the city, my staff, and the San Franciscans who have elected me to see my work through as assessor at this time.”

Chu was appointed to the position of Assessor-Recorder in 2013 by Mayor Ed Lee, after Phil Ting left the position for the California State Assembly. She was chosen by voters for the position in 2013 and 2014, perhaps partly due to her name recognition: She was formerly District 4 supervisor.  The Assessor-Recorder Office’s tasks are wide-reaching, ranging from managing taxable properties in San Francisco County to maintaining public records — and Chu has made some huge strides in the past few years, including keeping her office open during the first weekend that same-sex marriage was legalized in California, so that 479 marriage licenses could be issued.

Her decision not to run, Chu says, is due to the work she still wants to accomplish in her current role. “By holding ourselves and our largest taxpayers accountable, we’ve increased citywide revenues by over $200 million in the last year, innovated to improve public transparency, prioritized inclusion and access for over 400 low and middle-income families through our free family financial planning forums, and are in the midst of securing our $2.6 billion property tax system for the future,” she says. 

While she’s out for this race, Chu has not stated whether or not she’ll run for mayor in November 2019. 

Assemblymember David Chiu, considered a potential major player in the race, announced Monday that he also does not intend to run for the position in June’s election. 

“After discussions with my wife, friends and allies, I will not be running for Mayor this June,” he stated via email, pledging his commitment to working on California policy on the state level. 

“During my first three years, we have delivered on housing, transportation, immigrant protections and other areas, but our work is not done,” Chiu wrote. “As California continues to lead the Resistance, our efforts at the state level are more important than ever.”

The move is a strategic one — as the Examiner points out, Chiu would have had to surrender his run for re-election as assemblymember in June if he were to run for mayor. In a city that loves an incumbent, he might have a better chance at re-election in his current position that election into a new one. 

The deadline to file papers for June’s mayoral race is 5 p.m. on Tuesday — and unless anyone else comes out of the woodwork, it seems like the frontrunners will be former Senator Mark Leno, Supervisor London Breed, Supervisor Jane Kim, and maybe City Attorney Dennis Herrera, who has yet to confirm whether or not he’s running. 

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