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Politics & Policy

Levi’s heir Daniel Lurie raises $500K in race for San Francisco mayor

Man poses with arms crossed in front of sign Lurie for mayor
Daniel Lurie, the founder of anti-poverty nonprofit Tipping Point and an heir to the Levi Strauss fortune, announced his bid to unseat Mayor London Breed in September. | Source: Benjamin Fanjoy for The Standard

Less than 100 days after officially launching a challenge to San Francisco Mayor London Breed in the city’s November election, Daniel Lurie announced a campaign milestone Tuesday.

In a press release, Lurie’s camp said the campaign surpassed its fundraising goals for the end of the year, raising $519,896 between its launch in late September and Dec. 31.

“This is a remarkable milestone that reflects San Francisco voters’ deep desire for a new era of leadership,” Lurie said in a statement. “Our message is resonating, our campaign is gaining momentum, and we will have the resources we need to win.”

Lurie, the founder of anti-poverty nonprofit Tipping Point Community and an heir to the Levi Strauss fortune, announced his bid to unseat Breed on Sept. 26. He cited city leadership's failures to address the fentanyl crisis and large-scale homelessness as reasons for challenging the mayor despite having no previous experience as an elected official.

READ MORE: Why Is Daniel Lurie Running for San Francisco Mayor? He Says City Has Leadership ‘Crisis’

His campaign staff hailed the fundraising milestone as an optimistic sign of San Franciscans' support for the philanthropist-turned-mayoral candidate.

“I’m unaware of any candidate ever raising this much in such a short period of time, and especially in an off-election year," said Trishala Vinnakota, Lurie’s campaign manager. "It just speaks to the avalanche of support behind Daniel’s campaign.”

According to the campaign, more than 60% of 1,500 donors to Lurie’s campaign come from San Francisco.

Man in glasses speaks inside government building
Supervisor Ahsha Safaí is also running for mayor in this year's election. | Source: Isaac Ceja/The Standard

But Lurie—and supporters—are not the only San Franciscans building a war chest for a face-off against Breed in November. As of June 30, Supervisor Ahsha Safaí had raised almost $149,000 for his mayoral bid, according to amended campaign disclosure documents filed on Tuesday. About 52% of contributions came from San Franciscans, according to the campaign.

Safaí's campaign did not respond to The Standard's request for updated fundraising numbers on Tuesday. The San Francisco Ethics Commission said campaign finance disclosures for active local campaigns are not due until Jan. 31.

As of July, $298,382 sat in Breed’s war chest. More than 60% of donations to the mayor came from San Franciscans, according to the campaign at that time, with 57% of donations comprising $250 or less. Notable donors included Yelp founder Jeremy Stoppelman, North Face founder Susie Tompkins Buell and John Pritzker, a philanthropist and head of the John Pritzker Family Fund.

A representative for Mayor Breed’s campaign declined to share updated campaign contribution numbers but said they were not surprised that the Levi's heir had raised significant sums. Lurie, 46, was raised in Pacific Heights and his mother, Mimi Haas, inherited much of the Levi’s fortune after marrying the late philanthropist Peter Haas—the great-grandnephew of Levi Strauss.

“It’s no shock the millionaire has shown he can raise money from his wealthy friends,” a spokesperson for Breed’s campaign told The Standard. “But since the day he entered the race, Lurie has failed to offer San Franciscans any plans or policies to address the challenges facing the City. ... What would Lurie, who has no relevant experience, do any differently?”

Woman smiles while speaking into microphone in front of green and blue background
Mayor London Breed delivers a speech at the Exploratorium during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in November. | Source: Devlin Shand/Drew Altizer Photography

Supporters of Lurie are expected to raise additional funds for the candidate by tapping into the circle of charity donors connected to Lurie’s nonprofit Tipping Point, which he helmed from 2005 to 2019, and has reportedly distributed as much as $350 million over the years. Lurie also helped launch the $2 million Civic Joy Fund in 2023. The pro-Lurie group, called “Believe in SF, Lurie for Mayor 2024,” is likely to raise additional funds for the candidate, with a November report by Puck estimating that the group could raise as much as $7 to $10 million.

In an interview with The Standard last fall, Lurie said he would focus on police staffing, assisting unhoused people find shelter beds, and transforming Downtown San Francisco into feeling more like a neighborhood.

Assemblymember Phil Ting, former Supervisor Mark Farrell—who briefly served as mayor in 2018—and Supervisor Aaron Peskin have also been floated, among others, as potential challengers to Breed in 2024. Cafe owner Manny Yekutiel also considered a run for mayor but told The Standard on Tuesday that he ultimately decided against it.

Christina Campodonico can be reached at christina@sfstandard.com