San Francisco is well known statewide for its cutthroat politics — it’s a bloodbath, or alternatively, a proving ground due to its notorious ferocity.
Wednesday night, the swiftness of that ferocity was on full display at San Francisco’s Democratic Party.
The winners and losers of the night at the Democratic County Central Committee, or Dee-triple-Cee, may signal who politicos think will win this November. The results of this election may again tip the balance of power at the Board of Supervisors back to the moderate allies of Mayor Ed Lee.
The 31-member DCCC is tasked with voting on vital endorsements for the Democratic Party. In a crowded election that makes the SATs look brief, a “slate card” mailer from the Democratic Party is influential.
But Wednesday’s odd endorsement votes show one thing: There’s blood in the water.
“No Endorsement” vs. Ahsha Safai in District 11
Candidates Ahsha Safai and Kimberly Alvarenga, a moderate and a progressive, are both vying for the seat overseeing Ingleside, among other neighborhoods.
Neither candidate netted an endorsement.
Puzzlingly, progressives voted “no endorsement” instead of for Alvarenga. More than one politico suggested Chinatown community organizer Rose Pak swung the votes in Safai’s favor.
To this, Pak said, “I didn’t even talk to anybody.” Safai also denied it.
To be fair, Safai has prepared his run for years — more than long enough to secure key allies.
The Latin Young Democrats and San Francisco Latino Democratic Club appealed to the progressives to back Alvarenga. “We ask, is Ahsha Safai so different from Julie Christensen … ?” they wrote in a letter to Cindy Wu, DCCC chair, evoking the battle between District 3 supervisor candidate Christensen and Peskin.
Those candidates’ “Chinatown showdown” was billed as a proxy battle with Mayor Lee in 2015. The Latinos answered Peskin’s rallying cry.
Peskin’s answer to the Latinos’ cry for Alvarenga Wednesday? “No endorsement.”
Yee sweeps District 7
Supervisor and incumbent Norman Yee strongly swept the DCCC vote, indicating a struggle for his moderate-allied challengers Joel Engardio and Ben Matranga.
In the biggest burn of the night, Matranga netted a single vote, and Engardio, none.
Progressives aid moderate Breed
The endorsement for D5, representing The Fillmore and The Haight, was swept by Board of Supervisors President and incumbent London Breed against her opponent Dean Preston.
Shifting progressives voted for Breed: Bevan Dufty, Pratima Gupta, Leah LaCroix, Sophie Maxwell, Norman Yee. Other progressives ducked backing Preston: Supervisor Aaron Peskin abstained, and Sandra Lee Fewer, Supervisor Jane Kim and Cindy Wu voted no endorsement.
Arce and Philour’s DCCC haunting losses
Supervisor candidates for District 9 (The Mission and Bernal Heights) and District 1 (The Richmond District) Joshua Arce and Marjan Philhour both lost big in their June DCCC races.
Perhaps that’s why key moderates at the DCCC voted “no endorsement” instead of backing Arce, including Tom Hsieh, Mary Jung, (Arce ally) Assemblymember David Chiu, and Supervisor Mark Farrell, among others.
Philhour netted 10 votes against supervisorial opponent Sandra Lee Fewer, who netted 18.
Pak put it this way: Philhour “spent a hundred grand and got less than (14,000) votes. Sandra really spent less than $40,000 and got 20,000 votes. I don’t know what people backing her are thinking.”
On Guard prints the news and raises hell each week. Email Fitz at firstname.lastname@example.org, and follow him on Twitter and Instagram @FitztheReporter.