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Politics & Policy

Over $350K flows to Mark Farrell in San Francisco mayor’s race

'You can’t spin it any other way,' said one longtime political consultant. 'That it is good for his campaign and a really good showing.'

A man speaks into microphones at a podium with a campaign sign, while a focused woman listens behind him.
A month into his campaign, San Francisco mayoral candidate Mark Farrell has raised a serious pile of cash. | Source: Estefany Gonzalez/The Standard

Mayoral candidate Mark Farrell has raised over $350,000 since announcing his candidacy a month ago, according to his campaign, a sizable haul that shows the former supervisor will be a formidable force in the November election.

A businessman who briefly held the mayor’s seat after Ed Lee’s death in 2018, Farrell has carved out a tough-on-crime approach that is likely to galvanize a significant chunk of voters fed up with quality-of-life issues in the city.

On Tuesday, Farrell announced a slew of public safety-oriented policies, which include a street vending ban and bringing retired cops back to the streets. He has also said that he would fire Police Chief Bill Scott on his first day if elected mayor and try to create stricter rules around gathering at U.N. Plaza, which has become a hotbed of drug dealing and overdoses.

Farrell’s campaign manager, Jade Tu, said the campaign has already qualified for public financing with 70% of roughly 1,000 contributions coming from San Francisco residents. Public financing allows Farrell to receive over $1 million in extra monetary support.

Four individuals are shown giving speeches; two men are in suits, and one woman is in a red blazer. All appear engaged and expressive.
Mayor London Breed is squaring off against former Supervisor Mark Farrell, Supervisor Ahsha Safaí and Levi's heir and nonprofit founder Daniel Lurie. | Source: The Standard

“The tremendous early support demonstrates the momentum building for Mayor Farrell’s vision and new detailed policies that will get San Francisco back on track and make it the best City in the world for families,” Tu wrote in a statement.

The reported funding figures, which stretch from Farrell’s entrance into the race on Feb. 13 until March 13, would put him neck-and-neck with his moderate opponents, who include Mayor London Breed, Levi’s heir and nonprofit founder Daniel Lurie and Supervisor Ahsha Safaí. Board President Aaron Peskin, who would carve out a progressive lane in the race, is also expected to announce his candidacy.

The latest campaign filings show Breed raised $407,672 last year and spent a little over a third of her funds. Lurie brought in $520,462 during 2023—but he spent three-quarters of that war chest. Safaí raised $333,176 last year but spent a similarly significant portion of his money.

“You can’t spin it any other way,” said longtime San Francisco political consultant Jim Ross about Farrell’s fundraising efforts. “That it is good for his campaign and a really good showing.”

The figures represent fundraising for the candidate campaign efforts that are capped at $500 per donation—and don’t include any money raised by independent expenditure committees that allow for larger contributions. Lurie has the backing of an independent committee that has raised millions from his family and friends, while Breed also has a committee that received $200,000 from former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Supporters of Farrell are expected to form an independent committee backing his candidacy at some point in the race.

Farrell’s fundraising success comes as the city’s primary election last week showed a victory for moderate messaging in San Francisco. 

Breed’s propositions on police and drug use passed, and moderates were able to capture seats on the Democratic County Central Committee, which offers crucial endorsements in November.