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Breed maintains lead in San Francisco’s mayor’s race

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In ballot results Monday Mayoral candidate London Breed led Mark Leno by 1,601 votes, a slight increase from her lead on Sunday, which was 1,580 votes.(Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

Board of Supervisors President London Breed has maintained her lead over former state Sen. Mark Leno in the latest tally announced Monday by the Department of Elections.

Breed leads Leno by 1,601 votes, a slight increase from her lead on Sunday, which was 1,580 votes. The department counted 9,066 ballots since Sunday.

While the trend of the vote by mail ballots tallies has continued to go in Breed’s favor, there remains an unknown factor, the provisional ballots. These ballots need closer scrutiny to determine if they are valid, but they do tend to favor more progressive candidates, which would benefit Leno.

The Department of Elections will begin counting the 14,000 provisional ballots Tuesday.

But former Supervisor David Campos and chair of San Francisco’s Democratic County Central Committee posted a statement on Facebook Monday morning that Breed is “our likely mayor.”

Breed, who is a moderate politician, would become San Francisco’s first elected black female mayor.

“It doesn’t seem like we are going to have a progressive Mayor of San Francisco this time. To say that this is a disappointment is an understatement. It is heartbreaking,” Campos wrote. The DCCC endorsed Leno and the other leading progressive candidate Supervisor Jane Kim, who came in third.

Leno would have been considered San Francisco’s third progressive mayor. The other two were the late mayor George Moscone, who was assassinated, and former Mayor Art Agnos.

While Campos said it is “likely” Breed will win, candidates were not making any declarative statements Monday.

“With a historic voter turnout of over 50 percent, we need to honor each and every vote cast in this election — including the over 10,000 provisional ballots yet to be counted,” said Leno’s campaign spokesperson Zoë Kleinfeld. “Senator Leno is excited to continue working with all of San Francisco, regardless of the outcome.”

Tara Moriarty, Breed’s campaign spokesperson, said in a statement: “Whether Breed’s dominant showing will be enough to secure the win in [ranked-choice voting] won’t be known until all the votes are counted.”

Breed continues to increase her lead with voters’ first choices. She now leads Leno by nearly 11.7 percentage points in first choice votes, or 84,349 votes to Leno’s 57,389.

David Latterman, principal at the political consulting firm Brick Circle Advisor, said during a post-election talk hosted by public-policy think-tank SPUR last week, that the key to Leno’s strength was how well he did in District 8, which includes the Castro, and his ranked-choice voting strategy with Kim. He said Leno supporters in District 8 cut across ideological lines, with both progressives and moderates in the LGBT community voting for what would have been The City’s first openly gay mayor. District 8 also had the highest voter turnout compared to the other 10 supervisorial districts.

“Normally, progressive candidates in San Francisco don’t do great citywide. But what’s the most important district is D8. If Mark can piece together enough votes elsewhere and dominate in the highest turnout district then you’ve got a path. It’s a pattern we really haven’t seen before,” Latterman said.

The department did provide a breakdown of what supervisorial districts the remaining provisional ballots come from, and the second highest, 1,751 are from District 8. The most, 1,823, are from District 5, which Breed represents on the board. The third highest are from District 2, the Marina, with 1,375, followed by District 9, the Mission, at 1,343, where Kim has led.

Campos also said in his statement that the Leno and Kim ranked-choice voting strategy helped unify progressives and “brought us the closest we’ve come to taking back the Mayor’s office in 30 years.” He called on the progressives to continue to work together to counter moderate policies.

Breed’s lead over Leno in ranked-choice voting Monday was 106,536 votes, or 50.38 percent, to Leno’s 104,935 votes, or 49.62 percent. Leno gets a boost from partnering with Kim on a ranked-choice voting strategy in early May. When she is eliminated, Leno picks up 40,612 votes from her first choice supporters whereas Breed picks up 12,072 from Kim supporters.

Campos noted that with District 8 election going to Rafael Mandelman, the Board of Supervisors will have a progressive majority that “will allow us to push forward a progressive agenda and have a fighting chance to stop any bad policy coming from room 200.” Room 200 means the Mayor’s Office.

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