By Tim Redmond
The evening started out as a resounding victory for the national Democrats, a train wreck for California Democrats, and a defining night for San Francisco progressives. But the state results are getting a little tigher, and it now appears that Arnold Schwarzenegger's huge victory won't drag down every Democrat running for statewide office. John Garamandi may survive to be lieutenant governor (keeping far-right loon Tom McClintock out of that office). Jerry Brown will be the next attorney general, and Bill Lockyer the next treasurer.
And Prop. 90 seems to be sinking.
So all in all, a good night -- except for Mayor Gavin Newsom, who must be sitting around wondering why none of the voters seem to want to do what he tells them to.
The near-certain defeat of Rob Black in District Six is a huge deal: It's proof that a storng progressive with grassroots support and troops on the ground can beat back even a massive political assault by some of the most sophisticated and well-funded forces in the city. It's also going to mena a few tough years for Newsom, the Golden Gate Restaurant Association, SFSOS, Don Fisher and the rest of the anti-Daly gang: Daly has proven himself an effective politician, and he has never particularly liked it when jerks like these guys try to mess with him.
One of the more interesting aspects of this election was the money that Michela Alioto-Pier spent on ads for a race in which she had no real opposition -- big, pricey, video ads on sfgate, for example. What's that about? Well, part of what it's about is that Mark Leno is in his last term in the state Assembly, and that seat will open up in two years, which means that in the spring of 2008, a Democratic primary contest will determine the next Assembly member from the east side of San Francisco. Tom Ammiano has already announced his candidacy. Bevan Dufty has loudly proclaimed that he won't run. Is Alioto-Pier looking at that race?
If so, she'd probably have the support of the mayor -- but from the looks of things tonight, that isn't going to help much.
In fact, from the looks of things, Newsom needs to back away from the SFSOS types and try to make peace with the progressives if he wants to accomplish anything as mayor.