Showing just how close the state Senate race is, Supervisor Jane Kim took the lead Wednesday among San Francisco voters in the June primary for the District 11 seat, after trailing her opponent by less than 2 percent on Election Day.
Kim is now ahead of Supervisor Scott Wiener by 70 votes in San Francisco, or 45.33 percent to Wiener’s 45.3 percent, according to an updated count of the ballots released by the Department of Elections on Wednesday afternoon. That puts Kim with 105,304 San Francisco votes and Wiener with 105,234.
The seat currently held by termed-out Sen. Mark Leno represents San Francisco and northern San Mateo County. The updated tally doesn’t include votes from San Mateo County.
The most recent updated tally, as of 4:32 p.m. Wednesday, including San Mateo County results showed Weiner ahead of Kim by 0.4 percent of the vote, a lead that has been decreasing since Election Day as more ballots are counted, according to the California Secretary of State. That overall count puts Wiener with 111,907 votes to Kim’s 110,863.
As more votes are counted the leader could change again. But no matter who is the ultimate top vote getter in the primary, both are facing off this November after expectedly beating out third contender, Republican Kenneth Loo.
Kim’s overtaking of Wiener in San Francisco is not surprising, since Kim has gained on Weiner’s lead ever since early returns of vote by mail ballots put Wiener at a lead of 11 percent.
Wiener’s lead decreased to about 5 percent with a third of polling stations counted on election night. And by the end of the night, after all polling station votes were counted, Kim was only down by 2,800 votes, a gap of just 1.65 percent.
Wiener began his campaign earlier than Kim – Wiener announced he would run July 1 and Kim announced she would run Oct. 14 – and raised more money, $1,475,929 to Kim’s $736,911, according to the most recent campaign finance filings.
But Kim and her campaign showed significant momentum heading into Election Day. In late April, she announced a plan to make City College free and she succeeded in placing Proposition C on the June ballot that raises developer requirements for building affordable housing.
She called for the ouster of Police Chief Greg Suhr on May 11, a week before he resigned at the request of Mayor Ed Lee following a fatal police shooting of a black woman in the Bayview.
But perhaps most significantly, Democratic U.S. presidential hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders endorsed her in the contest on May 24 — commonly referred to now as the “Bernie Bump.” That endorsement led to a funding boost and increased her exposure as she appeared with Sanders at various events around San Francisco.
San Francisco’s Department of Elections has about 10,000 more ballots to count.