The state Assembly race between Board of Supervisors colleagues David Campos and David Chiu resulted in a draw of sorts Saturday when neither candidate received an endorsement at the county Democratic Party's pre-convention, underscoring just how close the contest continues to be.
In order to have gained the state party endorsement, a candidate needed 70 percent of the San Francisco Democratic County Central Committee vote in Burlingame. If either had received less than 70 percent but reached 50 percent, the matter would have carried over to the state Democratic Convention in March, where a candidate would need 60 percent of the vote for the endorsement.
But in the end, Campos picked up 39 percent of the vote and Chiu got 31 percent, meaning neither will get the key endorsement. Additionally, Assembly District 17 voters won't see door hangers and other messages with the party endorsement prior to the November election.
"A lot of times, you have really good candidates and you let the voters decide," said Hene Kelly, director of California Democratic Party Region 6. "They're both good. Democrats really love both of them and I think the Democratic Party profits from this and people from Assembly District 17 do, too."
Campos went into the Saturday with just two promised votes short of the 70 percent needed to secure the county endorsement, according to his campaign manager, Nate Allbee. So Campos and some of his supporters, instead of voting for the supervisor, chose no endorsement in an effort to prevent the decision from being carried out at the statewide party convention, where his opponent was believed to have the edge.
"We were hoping until we got there that we would be able to get those final two votes but it didn't happen so we went with Plan B," Allbee explained.
Campos said the fact that he got so close to the 70 percent was a sign of "the momentum that our campaign has and so we're happy with that."
It appeared Campos had a "slight advantage" over his opponent in the pre-convention because he previously won endorsements from clubs including the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club and the San Francisco Young Democrats, Kelly said. Conversely, Chiu was expected to have the edge in the statewide convention in Los Angeles because the local clubs do not vote then, and the Board of Supervisors president has more votes from elected officials.
Chiu said he was "pleased with the result, which is what we expected with two Democrats in the race."
In a way, the no endorsement is a "win-win for both," Kelly said.
"I said at the beginning when I introduced them, that San Francisco wins no matter who wins," she said. "We will get an excellent Assembly person who understands San Francisco values and that will work for us and all Californians."