Supervisors dominate DCCC race, but key newbies join them

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Winning DCCC candidate Matt Dorsey (left) with his boss, City Attorney Dennis Herrera, at Dorsey's election night party.
Steven T. Jones

“I just stopped by on my way to finish campaigning,” Sup. David  Campos told me at the Bike Coalition’s 20th Annual Golden Wheel Awards (more on that tomorrow), the first in more than a majority of the Board of Supervisors at the event.

Campos was campaigning for reelection to the Democratic Party County Central Committee (DCCC) and the polls were still going to be open for almost two more hours. Perhaps he could still reach the one in four registered SF voters who bothered to weigh in on this lackluster election.

“There was nothing really on the ballot that excited voters,” Campos said. “Hopefully November will be different.”

Tonight’s returns -- for leadership of a local Democratic Party that hopes for more  voter engagement in the fall races -- showed that Campos and fellow supervisors David Chiu, John Avalos, and Scott Wiener expectedly topped the pack, with Bevan Dufty, who moved from the board to the Mayor’s Office this year, in fifth place. And longtime former legislator Carole Migden’s sixth place fininish in the 14-seat eastside DCCC race helped show that it was mostly about name recognition.

But there were a couple of first-time candidates in the winning field: Matt Dorsey and Zoe Dunning, who finished 8th and 12th respectively. Both played key roles in recent LGBT politics: Dorsey as the City Attorney’s Office spokesperson during the same-sex marriage saga of the last eight years, Dunning as a poster lesbian in ending the US military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

“I think Zoe and Matt are the ones to watch,” DCCC member Alix Rosenthal told me at the Buck Tavern as she celebrated her reelection, after campaigning hard for both the progressive and women’s slates.     

Unprompted, Dorsey returned the recognition when I stopped by his party down the street at Churchill. “Alix and Rafael [Mandelman, who organized the progressive slate and finished 10th, right after Sup. Malia Cohen] ran other things, so it’s apples and oranges,” Dorsey humbly said of the two former Dist. 8 supervisorial candidates he bested, when I asked about his strong finish.

Dorsey ran an aggressive campaign, targeting high-turnout precincts and working hard to get the full spectrum of political endorsements (and posting all his answers to each group online), what he called “Moneyball politics.” And it translated into an impressive finish for a freshman candidate but longtime politico.  

“Right now, I’m looking to get back to the gym after a year and a half of campaigning,” said Dorsey, the spokesperson for the mayoral campaign of City Attorney Dennis Herrera, who was at the party, along with District Attorney George Gascon. 

Dorsey and his fellow Guardian/progressive slate members did better in Eastside Dist. 17 than Westside Dist. 19, taking 10 of 14 seats compared to four of 10, leaving a near-equal balance with the moderate Democrats once the seats of elected officials are factored in.

But if the spirits count for anything, Dorsey told me he ran especially hard to earn the seat that outgoing DCCC Chair Aaron Peskin appointed him to when long progressive activist Michael Goldstein died last year.

“Knowing that it was his seat,” Dorsey said, “motivated me to work harder.”