Sorting out a strange election - Page 2

What the Nov. 6 results mean -- and don't mean

London Breed beat three flawed progressive candidates to win the D5 race.

Lee didn't even endorse Prop. A until a few weeks before the election, and played almost no role in raising money or campaigning for its passage (see "Words and deeds," 9/11/12). Yet it got a higher percentage of the vote than any of the three measures that Lee actively campaigned for: Props. B, C, and E.

Then there's Prop. C, the Housing Trust Fund. Lee's office played a central role in drafting and promoting the measure -– but it wasn't exactly a Lee initiative. Prop. C came out of the affordable housing community, and Lee, who has strong ties to that community, went along. There were tough negotiations -– the mayor wanted more guarantees and protections for private developers -– and the final product was much more what the progressives who have spent decades on the housing front wanted than what the mayor would have done on his own.

The way the mayor envisioned business-tax reform, the city would have eliminated the payroll tax, which tech firms hate, and replaced it with a gross-receipts tax -– and the result would have been revenue-neutral. It was only after Sup. John Avalos and the progressives demanded that the tax actually bring in more money that the outlines of Prop. E were drafted and it received strong support from groups across the ideological spectrum.

"You had a lot of consensus in the city about these ballot measures," political consultant David Latterman, who usually works with downtown-backed campaigns, said at SPUR's post-election round-up.

The supervisorial races were a different story, with unprecedented spending and nasty messaging aimed at tipping the balance in favor of real estate and development interests. Mayor Lee didn't get directly involved in the District 1 race, but he was clearly not a supporter of incumbent Sup. Eric Mar.

The real-estate and tech folks who are allied with Lee spent more than $800,000 trying to oust Mar -- and they failed miserably, with Mar winning by 15 points. While Mar did have the backing of Chinatown powerbroker Rose Pak, who raised money and helped organize ground troops to help, Mar's victory was primarily the result of a massive outpouring of support from labor and progressive activists, many reacting to the over-the-top effort to oust him.

Mar, who voted to put Lee in office, won't feel a bit indebted to the mayor for his survival against a huge money onslaught. But in District 5, the story was a whole lot more complicated, and impact more difficult to discern.


Before we get into what happened in D5, let's dispel some of the simplistic and self-serving stories that circulated in the wake of this election, the most prominent being that Olague's loss -– the first time an incumbent was defeated in a ranked-choice election –- was payback for crossing Mayor Lee and voting to reinstatement Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi.

It's certainly true that Lee's allies went after Olague and supported London Breed, and that they tried to make an issue of domestic violence, but there was much, much more to this district election. Breed is an SF native with a compelling personal story who ran a strong campaign –- and that three strongest progressive candidates in the race each had major flaws that hurt their electability. By most accounts, the Olague campaign was a disaster until the very end. Equally important, the progressive community was divided over D5, leaving room for Breed to slip in.

"It's hard to unravel what happened here," Latterman said.

San Francisco Women for Responsibility and an Accountable Supervisor was an independent expenditure group fronted by domestic violence advocates and funded by more than $100,000 from the families of Conway and fellow right-wing billionaire Thomas Coates. It attacked Olague's Mirkarimi vote as being soft on domestic violence -- but it also did a last minute mailer criticizing Olague's vote for CleanPowerSF, muddling its message of moral outrage.


Would he have less power if he'd been elected by less, or more if by more? Either you're the Mayor or you're not.

Posted by Hortencia on Nov. 21, 2012 @ 6:00 pm

I think by that criteria there will be very few landslides, then.

Posted by Hortencia on Nov. 20, 2012 @ 7:15 pm

used is getting 60% or more in the final runoff. the last mayoral election gave Lee just over 60% when all candidates bar Avalos were discarded.

I've seen no evidence that a real runoff would have given a different result - 3 people chose Lee for every 2 that chose Avalos - that massive.

Whether a candidate gets less than 50% of the vote depends on how many are in the field as much as anything.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 18, 2012 @ 12:28 pm

it would be if there was some way to filter out your habitual mendacity from this forum. The only positive aspect of it is that your lies are so transparent that it is a good object lesson for how dishonest the "moderates" are.

Posted by lillipublicans on Nov. 18, 2012 @ 12:43 pm

other candidates were eliminated had Lee at about 60.2% and Avalos at 39.8%

If you have a cite showing otherwise, please furnish it. But gainsaying me without offering an alternative is weak.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 18, 2012 @ 1:01 pm

for engaging in dimwitted mendacity and the basic fingerprint of your nonsense is no doubt obvious enough to everyone, but:

And, by the way, owing to the persistent failure of the elections department to fully implement the instant run-off voting system passed by voters, there were a large number of "exhausted" ballots in the race -- over 50,000. These were almost entirely the ballots of voters who voted for more progressive, and mostly less-machine-connected (at least by perception) candidates such as Dennis Herrerra, Jeff Adachi, David Chiu, and Leland Yee and who *did* *not* vote for Lee.

If you factor in all those ballots as you trog types who persistently denigrate IRV do, Lee won less than 50 percent of the vote. He won fewer votes than did Ross Mirkarimi by every measure.

Posted by lillipublicans on Nov. 18, 2012 @ 1:32 pm

Fat difference that makes.

Oh, and your theory that the exhausted votes would have changed the outcome is ridiculous. They would have all had to have fallen to Avalos, but there is zero evidence that they would have fallen any way other than how the non-exhausted votes fell out.

The number 3 and 4 candidiates were for Herrera and Chui, and neither ran a particularly progressive campaign. The simple fact is that Lee won any which way and would have won under any system of voting.

IOW, a Landslide.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 18, 2012 @ 1:48 pm

And, yes, I *did* demonstrate why according to basic logic that Lee garnered *far* less than "landslide" support even if ingoring the widespread vote fraud.

Posted by lillipublicans on Nov. 18, 2012 @ 2:04 pm

The fact that he ended up with a handful less than that does not make Lee's victory any less emphatic, and therefore doesn't alter my premise one iota.

No voting system could have given victory to a candidiate who was as far short of Lee as Avalos was.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 18, 2012 @ 2:12 pm

switched their allegiance from Davis to Olague when the demaning revelations about Davis became public?

That was your biggest doozy of last week.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 18, 2012 @ 2:13 pm

You might want to go back and look at the Clean Slate for the election. However, you're right that the Guardian ran a couple of pieces that unofficially endorsed Olague.

Posted by Hortencia on Nov. 18, 2012 @ 2:43 pm

Olague like a syphilitic rash. They couldn't say enough good thigns about her. If that's not an endorsement, I don't know what is.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 18, 2012 @ 2:56 pm

The amount of people who read this blog pales in comparison to people voting off the Guardian slate card. Especially with it being D5, I wouldn't be surprised if Olague being on the slate card would have pushed her over the top.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 18, 2012 @ 7:57 pm

A few probably do but then they'd probably vote for the left anyway. I doubt many undecided moderates read the SFBG let alone are that influenced by it.

And of course Olague lost despite being endorsed by the SFBG. While in 2010 the mayor and at least two supe races went against the SFBG slate.

If anything, a SFBG endorsement is a net negative for a candidate.

Posted by Anonymous on Nov. 19, 2012 @ 6:46 am

You just said Olague lost despite being endorsed by the SFBG. She wasn't endorsed by them. That was actually the point of my comment.

Take anecdotal evidence for what its worth (not much I know), but as a 20-something in this town I have a number of friends who are liberal but don't know anything about local politics. They all vote the Guardian slate for local races because they read the Guardian, basically agree with its editorial views on things, and don't follow local politics.

That being said I don't have any proof. A couple additional things I can think of include how the Guardian slate was able to take the DCCC in both 2008 and 2010 and that Campos was the Guardian's number one endorsement in D9 in 2008 and he ended up winning. Of course districts like 5 and 9 are going to be where more people read the Guardian, and therefore more likely to vote the slate, that's why I thought Olague's omission may have made the difference here. I wouldn't say that about a race in D10 for example.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 19, 2012 @ 9:22 am

when Davis's true nature was exposed and when Olague voted to bail out the hapless Ross. In the last couple of weeks SFBG shilled desparately for Olague, having previously criticized her for being a Lee/Brown puppet. She lost.

If you only know 20-somethings then you may see some influence from a left-wing organ like SFBG. As Churchill said: "if you're not a liberal at 20, you have no heart; if you're not a conservative at 40, you have no brain".

Posted by Anonymous on Nov. 19, 2012 @ 9:56 am

Plenty to say, but anytime anyone drops that quote its time to bail.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 19, 2012 @ 11:04 am
Posted by Anonymous on Nov. 19, 2012 @ 11:56 am

Obviously Lee won over Avalos at the last election by "sizable margin" (quoting lilli), Breed won, Mar won and Olague will never win an election ever after voting in a Domestic Violence Abuser.

Avalos, Campos, Kim; will have an uphill battle in future elections when other candidates will only have to bring up the Mirkarimi reinstatement vote of a DV

The big losers, the SFBG and the Progressives that support Ross!
Credibility has all but disappeared along with integrity and dignity.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 20, 2012 @ 9:55 am

even while the State and Federal elections moved to the left. It takes a special kind of stupid to lurch right when the rest of the country lurches left, but somehow the SF Progressives managed it.

And that was only partly because Ross, Davis and Olague all self-destructed.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 20, 2012 @ 10:13 am

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