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Lessons I Learned by Running for Mayor

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Now that I’ve got a little distance from the whole mayoral campaign, I’ll be writing a bit more about what it was like.

This particular piece is from a monologue I did for The Kinda Late Show. Also, Drew Platt wrote some of it with me. It’s supposed to be funny and ridiculous, so don’t take it too seriously. I’ll be doing more in-depth stuff soon.

So I ran for mayor of San Francisco.

I did not win.

But I did learn some important things along the way. And I’ve decided to tell you about them.

One of my favorite things about running for office was that it attracted entirely new kinds of internet haters. I’ve been doing cool things in the public eye for awhile now, so I’ve gotten pretty used to people saying shit like to me like “Stuart’s a faggy hipster bitch.” Maybe I’d be more concerned if they weren’t a 14 year old in Ohio.

But politics haters are totally different. I’d post something like “Good morning San Francisco, I hope you have a great day!”

And I’d get responses like “People like you are the cause of all the ruination in the world. I hope you die slowly in a fiery train wreck and that everyone in your family is wiped out by pestilence, thus effectively taking your DNA out of the collective gene pool.”

These people are like the Cormac McCarthys of of Haters. I’m personally offended, but goddamn if their prose isn’t on point.

You know what the worst part about running for office is? Calling up everyone you know and asking them for money. Oh man, it is terrible! Imagine this:

“Hi Sarah! It’s Stuart! It’s been forever since we talked. I’m pretty sure the last time I saw you I prematurely ejaculated on your leg and then shrugged it off with a ‘Sorry, you’re really sexy’…yeah well do you think you can donate $100 to my campaign?”

Raise your hand if I called you and asked for money. Those of you who didn’t answer your phones made a very wise decision.

Another crazy thing is that your rich friends will give you zero dollars while your poor friends will give WAY more than you’d expect. Yeah, there’s no joke there, it’s just depressing.

You know what else was weird? Going around to business all over San Francisco and asking people to put a sign in their window with my face on it. I can’t tell you how many times people looked at me, then looked at the sign and said “You’re much better looking on the poster”

Thanks asshole, just put up my fucking sign already.


photo by Mariya Stangl

Another strange thing is that suddenly everyone reaches out with advice about how to run the campaign. Yeah, I’ll be sure to take political advice from a guy who lives with his mom, delivers weed for a living, and introduces himself to people as The Sorcerer.

Oh, they ask you to fight for their weird obscure causes too, “What we gonna do to stop the mariachi problem in the Mission, Stuart? We can’t have people of color spreading joy in the Mission, only white twenty-somethings selling shitty arts and crafts are supposed to do that.”

Luckily, the best part about my campaign is that I didn’t actually have to worry about winning the election. I mean, come on…

That said I did have a few nights where I tossed and turned thinking “Oh shit…what if I actually win…”

I mean, could you imagine that? My term would peak at the inauguration party and go steeply downhill after that.

My girlfriend Ashley literally said to me one day, “Wait…if you win…they, they won’t let you be mayor right? Like they’d have to stop it…right?”

Here’s the thing, if they elected me it would be pretty easy to undo the things I would’ve fucked up. It’s gonna take us decades to fix the damage Ed Lee’s gonna do to this City.

Fuck it, let’s just move to Detroit.

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Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

Stuart Schuffman, aka Broke-Ass Stuart, is a travel writer, poet, TV host, activist, and general shit-stirrer. His website is one of the most influential arts & culture sites in the San Francisco Bay Area and his freelance writing has been featured in Lonely Planet, Conde Nast Traveler, The Bold Italic, and too many other outlets to remember. His weekly column, Broke-Ass City, appears every other Thursday in the San Francisco Examiner. Stuart’s writing has been translated into four languages. In 2011 Stuart created and hosted the travel show Young, Broke, and Beautiful on IFC and in 2015 he ran for Mayor of San Francisco and got nearly 20k votes.

He's been called "an Underground legend": SF Chronicle, "an SF cult hero":SF Bay Guardian, and "the chief of cheap": Time Out New York.