City College board member Rafael Mandelman has taken a strong lead over incumbent Supervisor Jeff Sheehy in early results in the District 8 Board of Supervisors’ contest.
The first results of the night, which largely reflect mail-in ballots, show Mandelman taking a strong lead with 59.1 percent of the vote to Sheehy’s 38.8 percent.
The late mayor Ed Lee made history last year when he appointed Sheehy, the first board member to openly live with HIV, to the Board of Supervisors. Sheehy filled the vacancy left by then Supervisor Scott Wiener, who was elected to the state senate.
Mandelman had previously run against Wiener in the 2010 District 8 contest as a progressive firebrand and lost. Eight years later, he has gone out of his way to moderate himself in his contest against Sheehy.
Both candidates, in fact, sought to present themselves as independent of the warring political factions at City Hall, the progressives versus the moderates, heading into Election Day.
Ahead of Sheehy’s arrival at his election event held at Hamburger Mary’s at 531 Castro St., the party was in full drag.
“I’m from Louisiana. Coming where I’m from, this neighborhood is a blessing,” said drag queen, Echo. “Where I’m from, there’s always some kind of bullshit around the corner.”
Echo said that she would like public safety to be a top priority of the neighborhood’s next supervisor.
“I want to be able to walk down the street and flip my fan, flip my hair and flip my ignorance, that’s all I want,” she said.
Like most mayoral appointees, Sheehy faced criticism and was accused of being the mayor’s puppet. When Lee died in December, however, Sheehy aligned with the progressive bloc and cast a controversial vote to oust Board of Supervisors President London Breed from the role of acting mayor and instead appoint then Supervisor Mark Farrell.
It may have been hard to find many policy differences between the two candidates, but there were some.
Mandelman opposed outfitting police officers with stun guns while Sheehy supported them. Sheehy was supportive of Wiener’s Senate Bill 827, which would have changed the zoning of cities to allow for denser, taller buildings near transit, while Mandelman said it took away too much local control. The bill failed in Sacramento.
Mandelman argued he was more experienced and better equipped than Sheehy to tackle the most important issues facing the district like homelessness and affordable housing.
Sheehy, a former advisor to Mayor Gavin Newsom on HIV issues, pointed to his accomplishments in office of addressing cleanliness and safety at Dolores Park, cracking down on bicycle chop shops and providing more resources in the district for homeless youth.
Mandelman pointed to his experience as an affordable housing attorney at a nonprofit focused on urban planning and his role on the City College board.
Due to the election rules around appointed seats, the District 8 seat will again be contested in November. Both Sheehy and Mandelman have raised money for the November contest concurrently with the June contest.