No Last-Minute Ballot Surprises for San Francisco’s Mayoral Election

San Francisco supervisors Jane Kim (C) and London Breed (R) -- shown here at a press conference the morning after Mayor Ed Lee passed away -- have both filed their paperwork to appear as mayoral candidates on the June ballot.

San Francisco supervisors Jane Kim (C) and London Breed (R) -- shown here at a press conference the morning after Mayor Ed Lee passed away in December 2017 -- have both filed their paperwork to appear as mayoral candidates on the June ballot. (Adam Grossberg/KQED)

The sprint to become San Francisco’s next mayor is on and the field of candidates is set for the June election to fill the seat left vacant by Mayor Ed Lee’s untimely death last month.

At the 5 p.m. Tuesday filing deadline, the San Francisco Department of Elections confirmed that eight candidates successfully filed their paperwork for the June ballot.

Among the best-known and likely well-funded candidates are acting mayor and Board of Supervisors President London Breed; former state Sen. Mark Leno; and Supervisor Jane Kim.

The crowded field also includes former Supervisor Angela Alioto, a community organizer and a businessman.

Former state Sen. Mark Leno files his paperwork to run for mayor of San Francisco.
Former state Sen. Mark Leno files his paperwork to run for mayor of San Francisco. (Scott Shafer/KQED)

It sets up a six-month sprint in a race that was originally not set to take place until November 2019.

That short time frame winnowed down the field. Among those deciding to sit it out are City Attorney Dennis Herrera, state Assemblyman David Chiu and San Francisco Assessor Carmen Chu. All three had been toying with the idea of a run, but ultimately decided not to jump in.

Breed, as board president, became acting mayor upon Lee’s death Dec. 12. But whether she stays in the mayor’s office in that role until the election is still in doubt. On Tuesday, Breed accepted a request by Supervisor Aaron Peskin to schedule a vote for next week on who should serve as interim mayor in the coming months.

If no candidate secures the necessary six votes — and that appears unlikely right now — Breed will remain in the job with the ability to raise her profile and campaign cash, make appointments and shape the next city budget.

Progressive groups, still stung by the way moderate Ed Lee used his appointment as acting mayor in 2011 to win a full term, are hoping to at least blunt Breed’s advantage of sudden incumbency by replacing her with an interim mayor. Some potential candidates who decided not to run may have calculated they could not overcome Breed’s advantages.

The race could turn on whether voters want to stay the course charted by Mayor Lee or go in a different direction, and which candidate is best positioned to do that.

A recent poll found the race starting off with two clear leaders. The survey of 627 registered San Francisco voters found Mark Leno with 26 percent support and London Breed 20 percent.

The June election will ultimately be decided by ranked-choice voting, meaning candidates will have to vie to be voters’ second and third choice.

Marisa Lagos and Scott Shafer are the hosts of Political Breakdown, a new weekly podcast and radio program on California politics. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts.

No Last-Minute Ballot Surprises for San Francisco’s Mayoral Election 18 January,2018Marisa Lagos

  • Windhover

    “If no candidate secures the necessary six votes — and that appears unlikely right now” – did you mean likely?

    • Michael Schoolnik

      I think it means that if the BOS cannot come up with 6 the necessary votes among them for a different caretaker mayor; then Breed gets to keep her job as BOS Supervisor + interim mayor + mayoral candidate (which would surely give her more press on a daily basis up until June, than any of the other candidates)

      • Windhover

        Right – but it seems that it’s unlikely they will so likely that no candidate with secure the six votes and likely Breed will stay interim mayor…. I’m tripped up on the negatives (or they are) 🙂

        • Michael Schoolnik

          If that happens, Breed will get all of the press mentions between now and June; with Leno and Kim fighting for the #2 spot. I think Alioto is a distraction and will likely drop out, or donate share in rank choice voting. With something like 26% of San Franciscan’s voting in midterm elections, and so many newcomers, I think Breed will win. Too bad Daniel Lurie of Tipping Point didn’t jump in; that would have least gotten millennials interested in this race. Now its four candidates fighting over nuances about housing and homelessness without getting into details about how they would implement.

Author

Marisa Lagos

Marisa Lagos reports on state politics for KQED’s California Politics and Government Desk, which uses radio, television and online mediums to explore the latest news in California’s Capitol and dig deeper into political influence in the Golden State. Marisa also appears on a weekly podcast analyzing the week’s political news.

Before joining KQED, Marisa worked  at the San Francisco Examiner and Los Angeles Times, and, most recently, for nine years at the San Francisco Chronicle where she covered San Francisco City Hall and state politics, focusing on the California legislature, governor, budget and criminal justice. In 2011, she won a special award for extensive and excellent work in covering California justice issues from the National Council on Crime and Delinquency, and also helped lead the Chronicle’s award-winning breaking news coverage of the 2010 San Bruno Pacific Gas & Electric explosion. She has also been awarded a number of fellowships from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice at the City University of New York.

Marisa has a bachelor’s degree from the University of California at Santa Barbara. She and lives in San Francisco with her two sons and husband. Email: mlagos@kqed.org Twitter @mlagos Facebook facebook.com/marisalagosnews

Author

Scott Shafer

Scott Shafer migrated to KQED in 1998 after extended stints in politics and government to host The California  Report. Now he covers those things and more as senior editor for KQED’s Politics and Government Desk. When he’s not asking questions you’ll often find him in a pool playing water polo. Find him on Twitter @scottshafer

Sponsored by

Become a KQED sponsor