edlee_swornin.jpgAbout 100 people gathered outside San Francisco City Hall today to encourage Ed Lee to run for mayor in November.

The “Run Ed Run” campaign organizers claim to have gathered more than 51,000 signatures–a number they say shows strong community support for the potential candidacy of Lee, who was named interim mayor in January when former Mayor Gavin Newsom was elected lieutenant governor.

Lee, who did not attend today’s event, has previously said he planned to return to his old job as city administrator after his term ends rather than run for mayor, but recently said he is now reconsidering that plan.

He would join an already crowded field that includes state Sen. Leland Yee, Board of Supervisors President David Chiu and Supervisor John Avalos, City Attorney Dennis Herrera, Assessor-Recorder Phil Ting, former supervisors Bevan Dufty, Michela Alioto-Pier and Tony Hall, and venture capitalist Joanna Rees.

Christina Olague, president of the city’s Planning Commission and co-chair of the group Progress for All–which is behind the campaign pressuring Lee to run–said he has provided the “progressive, pragmatic leadership” the city needs.

Victor Hwang, a prosecutor with the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office and another organizer with Progress for All, shot back at some mayoral candidates who have criticized Lee for potentially changing his mind on running.

They’re “a selfish pack of politicians who are afraid of what the people want,” Hwang said.

Lee has until Aug. 12 to decide whether to file papers with the city’s Department of Elections.

Hwang and other organizers said today’s event marks the end of the “Run Ed Run” campaign, which is shutting down even though there are 11 days left before the deadline.

“We want to give him some space” to make the decision, he said.

Lee said late last week that he was still undecided and wanted to discuss the potential candidacy with his family and advisers.

Dan McMenamin, Bay City News

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