Yesterday, retiring city council member Jan Drago sounded an awful lot like she was running for mayor. Today, rumor is that Drago's old city council consultant, Blair Butterworth, is jumping ship from the floundering James Donaldson campaign to work for Drago. This move, if true, would show that a) Donaldson's campaign is moribund; and b) that Drago really is about to declare for mayor (and make a serious run for it). Drago says "right now, it's just pure rumor" but adds, "[Donaldson] can't pay his bills."

UPDATE 1: Butterworth confirms that he talked to Drago yesterday about working for her likely mayoral campaign. He says, "I have told James that it just wasn't working. He's a wonderful man, I like him very much, but it just wasn't working in terms of my services." As for Drago, Butterworth says, "I anticipate that we will come to an agreement in the next few days."

UPDATE 2: Re the post I did below about Drago's polling numbers, the mayor's campaign says Drago did, in fact, ask about the primary field, and that she came in third. According to a source who's seen the poll results, Nickels had about 20 percent of the vote in a six-way primary, followed by Donaldson with 10 percent, Drago with 9, McGinn with 6, Mallahan with 3, and Sigler with 2. Drago, in that hypothetical lineup, "doesn't even make it out of the primary," Nickels's spokesman Sandeep Kaushik says. However, the poll of 900 voters, conducted by Allison Peters, reportedly had a margin of 3.3 percent, putting Donaldson and Drago in a tie for second place.

Asked point-blank why she told me her poll "didn't ask a primary question with the whole field," when it actually did, Drago says, "we put the names out there but we didn't go further than that," adding, "I paid for the poll, I can decide what to share with people. I'm certainly not going to reveal any information that would be useful to an opponent."

Although Drago insists Nickels was closer to 17 percent, she says the primary numbers are close to "useless" anyway because the number of undecided voters was above 50 percent. "We just didn't feel that was very useful," Drago says, adding, "There's no question that the mayor is spiraling downward in terms of all his numbers--for reelection and for job performance." Kaushik says Nickels has not yet conducted a primary poll of his own.