Professor Tuman Reflects on Run for Oakland Mayor

Tuesday, November 18, 2014
Photo of Joseph Tuman

OAKLAND TRIBUNE -- Most people I spoke with were old friends and supporters, perhaps a tax bracket and age group higher than the average Oaklander. Toward the end of the first hour, students of Tuman’s from San Francisco State University filtered in, along with his campaign manager and family members.

As I took notes from a quiet corner, Tuman appeared and offered to give me an interview. Once again I was struck by how generous he was with his time, especially on this important night. We talked a bit about the results, then I asked him what his biggest surprises were. He bit into a chocolate cookie and looked up, thinking.

“Campaigning was a lot more effort this time. I’ve been at this for 16 months now. I thought I’d be able to spread it out over a longer period of time, but it just ...” he made a gesture like a water level rising. “But I liked knocking on doors and just talking to people.”

As we spoke, his candor grew. “There are no friends in politics, only shifting alliances. You would think I would know that.” He was frustrated with endorsements that didn’t come through, funding processes, the difficulty of being an Oakland City Hall outsider.

I thanked him and let him get back to the party.

Around 9:30pm, he began what felt a bit like a concession speech to his supporters.

It was a moment that existed outside of win or lose, punctuated with words of gratitude for all those who helped him along the way. At 10pm, most of us were on our way out the door. After getting a quick photo, we shook hands again and it was all over.

The long campaign came to an end in a few hours.