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Mandelman coasts to victory to become District 8’s new supervisor

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City College of San Francisco Trustee Rafael Mandelman speaks to his supporters on Tuesday night at Cafe du Nord in the Castro. (Ekevara Kitpowsong/Special to S.F. Examiner)

City College of San Francisco Trustee Rafael Mandelman took a commanding lead in the District 8 supervisor race Tuesday night and appears to have unseated Supervisor Jeff Sheehy.

Just after 10 p.m., Cafe du Nord was packed with Mandelman supporters that included housing advocates, fellow CCSF trustees and Board of Education Commissioner Matt Haney, who congratulated him on his win even before the second wave of results were announced.

Mandelman, too, was optimistic about his lead.

“These are voters who tend to be among the more moderate in the district, and they appear to have broken pretty significantly for me,” he said. “It does appear that I’m winning. … It looks like I was just elected supervisor.”

Nearby, Sheehy and his family gathered with supporters at Hamburger Mary’s.

“I feel like our family has been on steroids with the campagining,” said Bill Berry, Sheehy’s husband of 20 years. “But it wouldn’t be worth it if Jeff wasn’t as awesome as he is.”

Standing next to Berry and their 13-year-old-daughter Michelle, Sheehy said he believes San Francisco needs “more people with families in City Hall.”

“It’s just a different perspective,” he said, adding that he was concerned with his daughter having the ability to live in The City “when she graduates from college.”

“I look at the fact that, every year, there are more slots open for teachers at her school because people can’t afford to live here,” he said.

The late Mayor Ed Lee made history last year when he appointed Sheehy to the Board of Supervisors, making him the first board member to openly live with HIV. Sheehy filled the vacancy left by former Supervisor Scott Wiener, who was elected to the state Senate. On Tuesday night, Sheehy reflected on those monumental events.

“I do have to give a shout out to Mayor Lee,” said Sheehy. “I still miss the guy terribly and I think he was a great mayor.”

Former District 9 Supervisor David Campos said voters “should be very proud with the fact that they just elected a great supervisor.”

“I am actually grateful to Supervisor Sheehy,” Campos added. “I think he did a pretty good job for this district. He ran a strong race. My hope is that now that the voters have spoken in such a clear, convincing way, that we can move forward. I know that it’s an opportunity for Rafael and Jeff Sheehy to work together. That’s what I’m hoping.”

District 9 Supervisor Hillary Ronen was in attendance at Mandelman’s gathering in the Castro and seemed excited to work with her new colleage.

“The thought of being able to team up with Rafael as partners in getting affordable housing built, fixing our tent encampment crisis on the streets of San Francisco and people who are suffering mental health illness and substance abuse, I just feel like I am going to have someone that I can work with really closely who is brilliant and has the experience that we need,” she said.

BART Board of Directors member Bevan Dufty said that with Mandelman’s win, “we are ushering in a progressive majority” on the board of supervisors.

“No matter who the mayor is, the board sets a big part of The City’s agenda,” Dufty said. “This is a victory.”

Mandelman, who announced his campaign last April, ran against Wiener in the 2010 District 8 contest as a progressive firebrand and lost.

“This campaign has been going on for nine years,” he said. “Some of you were there in 2010, and I want to thank you so much for sticking with me.” 

lwaxmann@sfexaminer.com

S.F. Examiner reporter Joshua Sabatini contributed to this report.

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