johnavalos.jpgSupervisor John Avalos will announce his candidacy for mayor of San Francisco today, he confirmed to the Appeal late Sunday.

The District 11 supervisor, 47, will formally announce his entry into the November election at a news conference later Monday. He and his wife, Karen Zapata, a schoolteacher, will pull papers at the Department of Elections at 4 p.m. today.

The decision, reached after a late evening meeting of progressive powerbrokers, ends some months of public speculation.

“The cat’s out of the bag,” Avalos said via text message late Sunday.

Avalos is a very late entry into the race — some candidates have been campaigning for a year or more — but is the first and only candidate from the city’s left-wing progressive bloc to enter the race.

A list of rumored progressive candidates at times included former Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin and former District 6 Supervisor Chris Daly. Daly and Peskin, a notable organizer and fundraiser, respectively, will likely figure in Avalos’s campaign team, the exact makeup of which has not yet been announced. And Avalos will need their help.

Other announced candidates include former supervisors Bevan Dufty and Michela Alioto-Pier, state Senator Leland Yee, Board of Supervisors President David Chiu, City Attorney Dennis Herrera, Assessor-Recorder Phil Ting, and venture capitalist Joanna Rees. Herrera reported $265,000 in raised contributions earlier this month, while Yee says he raised $170,000 in seven weeks.

It’s likely that interim Mayor Ed Lee will also join the fray, multiple sources tell the Appeal, though no announcement is yet planned.

Prior to his election in 2008, the Excelsior District supervisor was a legislative aide for Supervisor Chris Daly and an organizer with Coleman Advocates.

Like some of his competitors, Avalos plans to accept public matching funds. Some $8 million in taxpayer money will go to mayoral candidates in matching funds, according to an estimate.

Progressive candidates lost the 1999 and 2003 elections to Willie Brown and Gavin Newsom: in 1999, Tom Ammiano entered so late he could mount only a write-in campaign yet forced a December runoff election which he lost to Brown by 42,000 votes, or 19 percentage points; in 2003’s December runoff, Matt Gonzalez was edged by Newsom, 133,546 votes to 119,329 votes. San Francisco elections now use an “instant runoff” format, also known as “ranked-choice voting.”

Avalos and Zapata have two children and live in the Excelsior District.

Photo of Avalos:

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