District 5 incumbent Supervisor Christina Olague may have enjoyed a campaign boost from progressives after her vote to reinstate suspended Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi against the wishes of anti-domestic violence advocates, but now she is up against a newly formed political committee supported by a prominent ally of Mayor Ed Lee — Silicon Valley angel investor Ron Conway, along with his wife, Gayle.
The group San Francisco Women For Accountability and a Responsible Supervisor was formed to oppose Olague days after the Mirkarimi vote, according to the Ethics Commission. The initial contributions, totaling $69,000 were from the Conways. There is a $49,000 contribution from Gayle Conway, who is listed as the vice chairwoman of the Conway Family Foundation, and the other contribution, from Ron Conway, was for polling costs.
The Conways’ support for unseating Olague may seem surprising given that she was appointed to the post by Lee, who has helped her raise money. And in August, both of the Conways donated $500 each, the maximum, to Olague’s campaign.
Ron Conway’s contribution to the committee is dated Oct. 16, just seven days after Olague cast one of four votes by the board’s progressive unit overturning Lee’s suspension of Mirkarimi for official misconduct stemming from a New Year’s Eve domestic violence incident. It takes at least nine board votes to uphold a suspension.
The board’s vote shook City Hall to its core, resulting in reports of nasty text messages sent to Olague from Lee’s top-ranking adviser and an ongoing political rift.
Another eight people, all women, have so far made donations totaling $50,775 to the independent expenditure committee. Unlike donations to candidates, which have a ceiling of $500 per person, there is no limit for independent expenditure committees.
The largest contribution was made by Linda Voigt at $49,000. Other contributors include Margot Shaub, who works for Gap; real estate investor Susan Lowenberg; Darlene Chiu, executive director of ChinaSF; and Julie Davis, executive director of the Tides Center.
Olague was appointed by Lee to serve out the remainder of Mirkarimi’s term in the progressive-leaning District 5, which includes the Fillmore, Western Addition and Haight neighborhoods. Facing criticism from opponents in her Nov. 6 election bid, Olague has sought to cast herself as a progressive and not beholden to Lee and his powerful moderate allies, such as former Mayor Willie Brown.