Councilman Larry Reid and BART Board of directors president John McPartland shake hands at the press conference updating the progress of the BART Oakland
Councilman Larry Reid and BART Board of directors president John McPartland shake hands at the press conference updating the progress of the BART Oakland Airport Connector project in Oakland, Calif. on Friday, July 13, 2012. (Laura A. Oda/Staff)

OAKLAND -- The field of challengers seeking to unseat Mayor Jean Quan next year is about to grow and soon might include Oakland's most senior council member.

Five-term incumbent Councilman Larry Reid said Tuesday that he is seriously considering a 2014 mayoral bid and that he hoped to make a decision by October.

"I think I have the capacity, and I think I have the heart to lead this city," he said.

As Reid mulls his future, Joe Tuman, a San Francisco State professor and political commentator, is expected to announce his candidacy during a Wednesday afternoon news conference outside City Hall.

Tuman, who finished fourth in the 2010 mayor's race and uses the twitter handle @joe4mayor, wouldn't confirm his candidacy Tuesday, but made it clear that he would run on the need to strengthen Oakland's undermanned police department.

"If we don't provide public safety, we're not meeting the most basic obligation of any government," he said. "This has to change and it is fundamentally the reason that I'm considering this run."

So far the big news during the early stages of Oakland's mayoral race has been who isn't running. Despite recent polls showing that Quan is unpopular and vulnerable, a host of viable candidates including Councilwoman Rebecca Kaplan, City Auditor Courtney Ruby and Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley have said they won't enter the race. Councilwoman Lynette Gibson McElhaney on Tuesday said she also will stay on the sidelines next year.

For now that leaves Oakland with Quan and a small and untested group of challengers that likely will include Tuman, 55, and Port Commissioner Bryan Parker, neither of whom have held elective office. Parker, 44, so far has proved to be a capable fundraiser, having collected about $60,000 in contributions over a 10-day period last month.

Quan's husband and campaign volunteer Floyd Huen said the mayor will raise the roughly $400,000 allowed under Oakland's campaign financing law.

"We're going to be running for re-election based on our record of accomplishments for Oakland," he said. "We feel that when Oaklanders learn the truth about what those (accomplishments) are that we will be re-elected."

Reid, whose relationship with Quan has soured during her tenure as mayor, said he has been sizing up political and financial support for a mayoral bid. "A lot of folks are encouraging me to run," he said.

Contact Matthew Artz at 510-208-6435 or martz@bayareanewsgroup.com