Scott Wiener declares victory in state Senate race

Supervisor Scott Wiener has declared victory in the District 11 state Senate contest against Supervisor Jane Kim.

While Wiener was the presumed winner since election night, he had yet to declare victory. There was a slim chance Wiener’s five point lead would show signs of weakening as more votes were counted following Election Day, but Wiener’s lead continued with the most recent tally Monday.

“Hundreds of thousands of votes have been counted, and I’m deeply honored to be elected to represent our community in the state Senate,” Wiener wrote in an email Tuesday morning from his campaign titled, “We’re Going to the State Senate. Now Let’s Get to Work.”

“After a hard-fought race and a vigorous debate about our future, the voters supported our vision of more housing at all income levels, transformative investment in public transportation, meaningful approaches to confront climate change and the drought, and fighting hard to ensure quality healthcare and public education for all families.”

In declaring victory, Wiener — who had previously waged negative attacks against Kim — offered her praise.

“I want to acknowledge and thank my opponent and colleague, Jane Kim, and her supporters, for the passionate and talented campaign they ran,” Wiener wrote. “While Jane and I have our disagreements, we both work hard and know how to campaign. I knew from the beginning that the campaign would be both spirited and competitive, and it clearly was.”

Wiener also referenced the election of Donald Trump as president as a reason to come together and put differences aside among the Democrats. Wiener is considered a moderate and Kim a progressive, according to San Francisco’s political ideology.

“Given the new reality we face nationally, all progressives must be united, and I pledge to work with Jane and her supporters to forge a common progressive strategy to confront this sad reality,” Wiener wrote.

As of Tuesday, Wiener had received 161,012 votes, or 52.2 percent, and Kim 147,179, or 47.8 percent, according to the Secretary of State, which includes both voters in San Francisco and northern San Mateo County. As of Monday, San Francisco’s Department of Elections had 93,000 ballots remaining to count.

Wiener talked about his agenda in Sacramento, highlighting the “housing crisis” and the need for the state to increase transportation funding. He also spoke about the need increase school funding and increase protections for the environment.

“We can’t allow California to continue to languish near the bottom of the 50 states in education per pupil spending,” Wiener wrote. “As Trump continues to deny climate change and the drought, we must advance aggressive solutions to these existential threats.”

Wiener’s victory means there is a vacancy in the District 8 seat on the Board of Supervisors, and Mayor Ed Lee will be tasked with appointing someone to fill that seat.

Names mentioned during the annual post-election meeting last week hosted by public policy think tank SPUR to fill that seat included Conor Johnston, a legislative aide to Board of Supervisors President London Breed; Retired Navy Cmdr. Zoe Dunning who fought the military’s ban on the LGBT community in 1993; and Alex Randolph, who was re-elected to the City College of San Francisco Board of Trustees.

Wiener replaces termed out state Sen. Mark Leno to represent San Francisco and northern San Mateo County.

Lee said Tuesday afternoon he has yet to congratulate Wiener on the outcome. “I haven’t yet. I am waiting for final results. I do want and am anxious to have finality,” he said.

The mayor said he has yet to initiate discussions with potential appointees to fill Wiener’s vacancy on the board. “I will have the time to do that. But I know the date is going to come pretty fast. We are preparing for procedures.”

One potential appointee told the San Francisco Examiner on Tuesday he plans to make his case to the mayor for being appointed to fill Wiener’s vacancy.

“I would love to serve as the next D8 supervisor and look forward to discussing my dedication to and track record in D8 and San Francisco with the mayor,” Randolph said in a text message to the Examiner.

Wiener was absent from Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting. His office said he was in Sacramento for new member orientation.

Wiener’s last board meeting is Nov. 29 and he is expected to be sworn in to his state Senate seat on Dec. 5.

Jason McDaniel, an associate professor of political science at San Francisco State University, said the key behind Wiener’s victory was a “different electorate” that turned out for the November election compared to the one that showed up during the June primary.

He said that during the June primary, the excitement around Sen. Bernie Sanders, who endorsed Kim, “really mobilized an electorate that was really pro-Kim.” McDaniel said six months later, the electorate was “a more traditional Democratic electorate in a presidential year.”

Wiener was endorsed by the Democratic Party’s more traditional leaders like U.S. Attorney Kamala Harris and Rep. Nancy Pelosi.

Joshua Sabatini
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Joshua Sabatini

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