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Breed closing the gap with Leno in latest returns

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Supervisor London Breed, shown here speaking about election results on Wednesday, appeared to be gaining on Mark Leno in Thursday’s ballot count. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

Former state senator Mark Leno’s more than 1,000 vote lead over Board of Supervisors President London Breed in the San Francisco mayor race dropped down to just 255 votes Thursday after the Department of Elections counted about 8,000 more ballots.

The latest count only adds to the suspense of the contest. The vote tallies are being updated daily and announced at around 4pm by the department.

Since election night, Leno has lead by more than 1,000 votes over Breed in ranked choice voting, but that lead decreased from 1,146 votes to 1,121 votes in ranked choice voting Wednesday.

On Thursday it shrunk further to 255 votes, after the department counted an additional 8,062 ballots.

The department has about 84,000 more ballots left to count.

Of the 8,062 ballots counted, Department of Elections director John Arntz said 3,000 were vote-by-mail ballots that came in from the post office on election day and 5,000 were vote-by-mail ballots that voters dropped off at the polls on election day.

Arntz was unable to say what areas of The City these ballots came from.

Even before the election outcome is known, already there is talk about the next mayor’s race in November 2019.

Alex Clemens, a founding partner of lobbyist firm Lighthouse Public Affairs, said Thursday during the traditional post-election recap event hosted by the public-policy think-tank SPUR, that the winner will need to start campaigning shortly after taking office, which is likely to take place July 11.

“Whichever one of these two winds up as mayor, they need to hustle,” Clemens said. “Various people from the left, if London wins, various people from the right, if Mark wins, are already kicking tires and saying let’s look for a stumble because neither of these two people just blew the city away and said ‘that’s our leader.’”

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