District 5: London Breed Wipes the Competition
Barring any unforeseen craziness, London Breed appears to be the new District 5 Supervisor.
Facebook.com London Breed
In a vicious race -- where the definitive question at times seemed to be: "Which candidate's actions have turned-off the fewest voters?" -- London Breed finished at the top with room to spare. A trail of presumably more progressive candidates bunched behind her. In dispatching Supervisor Christina Olague, Breed has all-but-officially become the first challenger to unseat an incumbent since the Willie Brown years.
In a bizarro world contrast to the moderate District 7, the first election in the city's most liberal district since Ross Mirkarimi vacated his seat for the Sheriff's office has gone to a moderate (by D5 standards) candidate. Breed, who benefited from a heavy war chest, would certainly challenge that characterization, as she did during her campaign, explaining to voters that "Willie Brown didn't wipe my ass when I was a baby."
See also: Election 2012: Winners and Losers
At the Breed election soiree last night at Nickie's on Haight Street, the celebration ramped up long before the final ranked-choice numbers were tallied. By the time Mitt Romney had finished his concession speech, Breed was standing outside the bar, hugging, handshaking, and soaking in the congratulations from supporters.
"I want to be everybody's supervisor," she said.
And there's at least one progressive leader who's not going to chalk her up as a moderate partisan.
"I think London, despite everybody's fear's that she's owned by the real-estate industry, is going to be a breath of fresh, independent air," former supervisor Aaron Peskin, who endorsed environmental activist John Rizzo after initially supporting Julian Davis, told SF Weekly.
Among the winners of last night's supe races, Breed took the fewest percentage of first-place votes, at just under 28 percent. While she won by a comfortable margin, a chunk of her success likely reflects the political problems her chief competitors faced throughout their respective campaigns.
On the scale of "actions that turn-off D5 voters," a profanity laced tirade that puts "Willie Brown" in the same sentence as "ass" ranks relatively low, particularly when contrasted against the dents on her rivals.
Olague, the incumbent whom Mayor Ed Lee had appointed to Mirkarimi's vacated seat, took heat from housing advocates for voting in favor of the 8 Washington Street development. Then she took some more hell from the anti-domestic violence community for helping Mirkarimi get his job back as county sheriff. Meanwhile, Julian Davis, the progressive establishment pick whose endorsement list included Supervisors John Avalos and David Campos and the Bay Guardian, found himself tangled in a sexual misconduct scandal after SF Weekly broke the story about accusations from two separate women. Davis quickly lost all of the above endorsements.
"This whole race was goofy from beginning to end," said Peskin.
Perusing their ballots, progressive D5 voters may have felt like Republicans voting in this year's primaries: They were caught between flawed favorites -- Olague and Davis -- and long-shots like Rizzo. None stood out, and none constructed a campaign that could match Breed's.
The numbers played out exactly how you'd expect. Olague, Davis, Rizzo, and Thea Selby packed the middle, and Breed found herself with some breathing room.
Just 1,571 first-place votes separated Olague, the second-place finisher in ranked-choice round one, and Selby, the fourth-place finisher (Rizzo beat Davis for Bronze by about 200 votes). By comparison, Breed topped Olague by more than 2,100 first-place votes. After the fifth and final round of the ranked-choice calculation process, Breed took 56.1 percent to Olague's 43.8.
"I want to just take it all in," Breed said last night, as the reality of her victory sank in. "I want to just enjoy the moment."