Joe Tuman

OAKLAND//MAYOR 2014 | What exactly likely Oakland mayoral candidate Joe Tuman thought he was getting away with when he placed personal political aspirations in the middle of his syllabus is unclear.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported Thursday Tuman for a class assignment asked his political science class at San Francisco State to imagine—just imagine—creating a campaign strategy for a generic black conservative running for Congress in the Central Valley, or, I don’t know, a slight, balding, middle-aged white man running for mayor of Oakland.

Sounds like Tuman. That’s because it was Tuman of which Tuman was referring and he reportedly told students if the idea was good enough, he just might use it for his run at unseating Mayor Jean Quan next year.

According to the article, neither San Francisco State nor Tuman believe his assignment, which counts toward the majority of the student’s grade, was unethical. However, the Fair Political Practice Commission and other groups, say the article, disagree and believe the potential fruits of the students labor could be construed as a campaign contribution.

The news of Tuman’s more than hinky gambit is raising eyebrows, but also is the appearance of this disclosure being a shot across Tuman’s bow by unknown political opponents. As the cards of the 2014 ballot get shuffled and become more certain in the coming weeks, more than a few Oakland insiders believe Tuman has real shot to unseat Quan, or, at least, the best shot.

During his last run in 2010, Tuman finished a strong fourth and showed the polish of being a political expert on local television and the ability to convey his ideas with a sense of gravitas. And, with ranked-choice voting and a potentially underwhelming group of challengers, as many are saying, anything can happen.