The June Primary election has come and gone. For San Francisco voters, there were strong showings from Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, State Senator Mark Leno and Assemblymember Tom Ammiano, as expected. Assessor/Recorder Phil Ting has a significant lead to take Assemblymember Fiona Maâ€™s seat in Sacramento in the fall. The real drama came from the San Francisco County Democratic Central Committee (DCCC) races, where it is a photo finish for the final few seats in Assembly District 17 (AD17 is basically the eastern half of San Francisco).
If current results hold - there are still some final ballots left to count, many provisional - 11 of the 12 AD17 incumbents will retain their seats. Gabriel Haaland, the only Transgender member of the Committee, unfortunately did not garner enough votes to stay on. The three â€śnewcomersâ€ť to the Committee will be former District 8 Supervisor Bevan Dufty, District 10 Supervisor Malia Cohen, and yours truly. Yes, after a hard fought campaign I was fortunate enough to garner enough votes to capture one of the seats for Assembly District 17. Iâ€™ve had many congratulations and some condolences from people who canâ€™t believe I would want to get involved in local San Francisco Democratic Party politics. Be careful what you wish for, I am told!
The final days of campaigning were fun and exhausting. You would never know there was only 29% voter turnout based on the vast majority of people at BART and Muni stations who declined a flyer with â€śI voted already.â€ť Yeah, right. But I understand the voter fatigue. By Election Day there were sometimes more of us candidates than commuters at these stations, descending on the beleaguered workers with our brightly colored cards asking for their vote. Iâ€™m sure their experience was not that different from the Las Vegas strip where you are inundated with flyers for clubs and strip joints every two feet.
One of the stories coming out of this DCCC race is the success women achieved in getting elected. Prior to this election, the 24-seat committee had 11 women. If results hold true, there will now be 12, or 50% women. If you look a little deeper, itâ€™s more impressive than just the addition of one more woman. Across the two Assembly districts, all seven women incumbents kept their seats, despite the fact none of them are elected officials, a tremendous advantage that nearly guarantees a seat (five of the incumbent men are current Supervisors). Four of the six current DCCC members who did not run for reelection were women, so it was not easy to replace those four with other women and even add to the total. Said another way, women incumbents retained 100% of their seats and women account for five of the seven newcomers to the DCCC.
Comparing the men and women newcomers, there were 11 non-incumbent women running, 5 of whom won (46%); there were 22 non-incumbent men running, 2 of whom won (9%). The two appointed incumbent women running (Petra DeJesus and Leah Pimentel) won their very first election. If you take them into account, 7 out of 13 women won (54%) who were either non-incumbents or running in their first election. For men, by contrast, it was 3 out of 23 (13%). Overall, it was a very strong showing for women candidates against very difficult odds.
The first order of business of the newly formed DCCC will be to elect a chair. This will be voted on during the July meeting. There are several names floating around out there and it will be very interesting to see who comes out on top and the implications for the direction of the DCCC and the fall endorsements for Supervisor, College Board and School Board. Iâ€™m looking forward to rolling up my sleeves and helping strengthen the Democratic Party here in San Francisco.