Well, folks, it's mid-July and Mayor Newsom's campaign consultant considers the biggest threat to the mayoral throne a clown — the job description for Kenneth Kahn, aka Kenny the Clown, a Fisherman's Wharf fixture when he's not being hauled away by the cops (we'll get to that in a moment).
“Well, Kenny is the only one that seems to have a pulse so far,” said Eric Jaye, Newsom's top campaign adviser. “He's got a phone and he seems to be calling up a lot of newspaper reporters. I gotta give Kenny some credit, frankly.”
Actually, we called Kenny first, but he hounded us with follow-up calls until we finally caught up with the 41-year-old clown and substitute teacher last week to ask about the campaign. He raked in 7 percent of the vote last November when he ran for mayor in his native Alameda. (But he assures us he's not pulling any alleged Ed Jew antics, having moved onto a friend's couch by Cow Palace last month.) But when the Newsom sex scandal broke in January, he decided “enough's enough,” and is now trying to collect the nearly 10,000 signatures he needs to file nomination paperwork by tomorrow. He sees his campaign shtick as a “classic underdog story. A clown trying to become the mayor is like Rocky before he beat Apollo Creed. Everybody said it couldn't be done. Not only do I think I can, I will. I'm going to.”
His sister, Sylvia, a teacher in Alameda, doesn't support Kenny, to say the least. She told the press Kenny's mayoral bid last year was a “mockery of our system,” and now her anger seems to near in on seething: “My brother's story is not an interesting one. He doesn't even live in San Francisco, and I really have no interest in talking about this and would not like to be contacted to talk about him ever again.”
Daaaang, Kenny, someone's not feeling the dream. Apparently, neither were the cops, who he says arrested him two weeks ago while he was juggling fire on a skateboard in Fisherman's Wharf (he posed for his mug shots in full clown makeup). Kenny says he suspects Newsom is trying to take him out of the race.
Newsom's adviser couldn't help but laugh.
“He's already launching unsubstantiated charges against people,” Jaye said. “I don't know what's better — the fact that he can juggle fire or can smear his opponent from a skateboard, but it sounds like he's going to fit right in.”