Celebrities Go to Bat for Their Favorite Mayoral Candidates

With a historic election in sight, some celebrities have publicized their enthusiasm for the major candidates. Will it make a dent in the election?

With less than three weeks to go until San Francisco chooses its next leader, endorsements are ratcheting up.

While Los Angeles has us beat on the celebrities-per-capita front, some public figures have wielded their influence to back candidates they support, despite this race being in a city they’re not connected to. Do the names make enough noise to sway voters? Take a look at who some famous folks want as our leader.

Snoop Dogg

Relatively early into the race, London Breed’s campaign got an unexpected boost from the influential Long Beach rapper with a feminist message.

“im standing wit the women of @ItsOurTimeSF because its time an accomplished woman led the city #ItsOurTime #London4Mayor,” Snoop Dogg tweeted in March.

His tweet came with a video showing photos of San Francisco’s nearly all white and male mayors, made by the pro-Breed PAC It’s Our Time.

Snoop Dogg has lent support to campaigns in the past, notably Ron Paul’s 2012 presidential run with libertarian views on marijuana legalization. He eventually endorsed President Barack Obama’s reelection.

The rapper’s support came so far out of left field that it’s arguably caught the most attention of any celeb endorsement in the San Francisco mayoral race, but a handful more are also worth a look.

Danny Glover

The San Francisco-born actor of Lethal Weapon fame has strong ties to the city, like his student involvement in San Francisco State University’s historic strike to establish a College of Ethnic Studies, among many other efforts. His activism remains strong, and he is regularly seen at various rallies around the Bay Area.

So it’s natural Glover would weigh in to support Kim, who championed the Free City College initiative.

In early May, Glover headlined a fundraising event for Kim with leaders from his native District 5 — also the neighborhood Breed represents.

Chelsea Handler

The comedian wasted no time in supporting Breed’s rise to power, tweeting in January that she should remain in her role as acting mayor before the infamous vote that brought us Mayor Mark Farrell instead.

“Perfect opportunity to show up for a woman,” Handler tweeted. “She deserves us.”

In response, Twitter users implored Handler to look at Breed’s actual policies, acknowledge Kim’s fellow historic run for the same office, and to realize that San Francisco voters would have little to do with a Board of Supervisors vote.

Handler eventually resurfaced with her support for Breed with an “in conversation” fundraising event in San Francisco earlier this month. Breed’s team received an unsuccessful request to cancel the event, citing Handler’s comments “against the Trans, Asian, and sexual abuse survivor community.”

“You have said on the campaign trail that you will be the mayor for all San Franciscans, but how can a mayor for all San Franciscans collaborate with someone who finds it funny to joke about the marginalized?” Grace Kim wrote in an email.

Jose Antonio Vargas

The former San Francisco Chronicle journalist and Bay Area native was commended for his bravery after going public with his undocumented status in 2011. Since then, he has launched the group Define American to push for immigration reform.

Vargas joined an Our Revolution event in April to garner support for Kim just before early voting kicked off in May.

Days later, Vargas left out his support for Kim while calling attention to her Medium post in response to peculiar questions posed by a Chronicle reporter.

“As a former reporter @sfchronicle, I’m very troubled by these questions and their tone,” Vargas tweeted. “What is going on?”

Goldie Hawn

This actress was also quick to endorse Breed in February, calling her “San Francisco’s once and future Mayor.”

In the tweet supporting Breed, Hawn said they bonded over support for kids in public schools. The actress, mother to actress Kate Hudson, has a foundation dedicated to youth education.

Amy Tan

Bay Area native and Joy Luck Club author Amy Tan is no longer a San Francisco resident, but she remains plugged into the issues. She feels former state Sen. Mark Leno is the leader San Francisco needs, citing his “clear plans” to address issues like homelessness and affordable housing.

“He has in-depth experience with complex needs and has outlined a plan that goes far beyond the general campaign promises of the other, less experienced candidates,” Tan said on Facebook.

Tom Daley and Dustin Lance Black

Although the 2012 Olympic bronze medalist is across the pond in London, the diver called San Francisco one of his “favorite cities in the world” when making a push for its residents to vote for Leno. After all, “San Francisco has the chance to elect its first gay mayor,” he said.

Daley made the endorsement with husband Dustin Lance Black, a screenwriter, director, and producer behind projects like Milk and When We Rise. Black is from Sacramento but has had San Francisco-centered projects, and Leno clearly made an impression.

“By my side the entire time was a man named Mark Leno,” Black said. “He’s been inspiring me for well over a decade, and he’ll continue to inspire San Franciscans for generations.”

George Shultz

His name may be less recognizable, but that President Ronald Reagan’s Secretary of State praises Breed as the top choice for Republicans is noteworthy.

In a letter paid for by Breed’s campaign and sent to voters, the 97-year-old Shultz calls her “the right leader at the right time.”

Though the administration Shultz worked for brought us a “War on Drugs” disastrous for communities like the one Breed can’t stop mentioning she grew up in, Breed had kind words for the man.

“Secretary Shultz is not only an American hero and a great San Franciscan, he represents a dignified, collaborative brand of policy thinking that transcends today’s petty partisan politics, and I’m proud to have his support,” Breed told the Examiner.

By now, readers may detect that Leno has not attracted as many household names as his main rivals. But we feel it’s only fair to point out his list of impressive endorsements that takes several moments to scroll through, like the backing of U.S. Senator Kamala Harris and the Northern California chapter of the International Longshore Workers Union.

Though celebrities attract attention, local organizations are far more in tune with the issues that plague San Francisco. Their endorsements speak volumes about the candidates’ priorities, like Alioto being endorsed by the reform-obstructing police union or the Affordable Housing Alliance endorsing Kim. But if Snoop Dogg’s endorsement is high on your list, consider this your official celebrity-endorsed mayoral voter guide.

This is one of three stories that make up our May 17 feature. Check out: 

Does This Mayoral Race Even Matter?

The Boss, the Bandleader, and San Francisco’s Biggest Mayoral Scandal

View Comments