SF progressives didn't do as well at the polls as in the last few election cycles, but it could have been worse
In the Board of Supervisors races, it was basically a status quo election that shouldn't alter the body's current politics dynamics much. Sup. Bevan Dufty will be replaced with fellow moderate Scott Wiener in D8 and Sup. Chris Daly by progressive Jane Kim in D6. The outcome of races to replace ideological wobbler Sup. Sophie Maxwell in D10 and conservative Michela Alioto-Pier in D2 may not be conclusively known for at least a few more days (maybe longer if the close races devolve into lawsuits), but neither is a seat that would diminish the board's progressive majority.
Progressives could have made a gain if Rafael Mandelman had won in D8, but he was seven points behind Wiener on election night and even more after the initial ranked choice tally was run on Nov. 5. And in D6, fears that downtown-backed candidate Theresa Sparks might sneak past dueling progressive candidates Jane Kim and Debra Walker never materialized as Sparks finished far behind the lefty pair.
Consultant David Latterman, who worked for Sparks, told us on election night that he was surprised to see that Kim was the choice of 32 percent of early absentee voters "because we targeted those voters." By comparison, Walker was at 20 percent and Sparks was at 21 percent in the initial returns, which tend to be more conservative. By the end of the night, Kim had 31.3 percent, Walker 27.7 percent, and Sparks just 16.5 percent.
"If she did that well with absentees, it seems like it was Jane's race to win. If they choose Jane, they wanted Jane. It's just that simple," Latterman told us on election night.
At her election night party, Kim credited her apparent victory to a strong campaign that she said fielded 400 volunteers on Election Day, most wearing the bright red T-shirts that read "See Jane Run" on the back. "I feel good," Kim told the Guardian. "What I'm really happy about is we ran a really good campaign."
In the end, Kim's campaign was put over the top by the second-place votes of Sparks' supporters, with 769 votes going to Kim and 572 to Walker in the first preliminary run of ranked-choice voter tabulations. But despite the bad blood that developed between progressives in the Kim and Walker campaigns, Board President David Chiu, an early Kim supporter, sounded a conciliatory note, telling the Guardian on election night, "Given where Debra and Jane are, I'm glad that we're going to keep this a progressive seat."