After scores of clashes over everything from campaign donors to nasty political ads, the District 11 state Senate race between supervisors Jane Kim and Scott Wiener was too close to call Tuesday night.
The winner replaces termed out state Sen. Mark Leno to represent San Francisco and northern San Mateo County.
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Kim showed up outside of her election night party at Slim’s around 10 p.m. and — despite trailing by around 15,000 votes — celebrated with supporters, including her father.
“We think it’s going to be a very close election,” Kim said. “It’s just like the primary and we pulled through.”
On the night of the June primary, Wiener had the most votes, but days later Kim actually prevailed once all the votes were counted.
Wiener, who maintained the lead as of 11:20 p.m., said, “I feel really good about where we are in my race. I am trying to stay optimistic.”
But like most San Francisco candidates Tuesday, the election of Donald Trump as the next president of the United States seemed to overshadow over his own contest.
“I’m deeply depressed about what’s happening in the country,” Wiener said.
For the past year Kim and Wiener, both Democrats, have sought to differentiate themselves on a variety of issues. Wiener has played up his accomplishments on transit, such as succeeding to pass legislation to require residential developers to pay a fee to fund Muni, and securing paid parental leave benefits.
Kim, meanwhile, has championed her record on affordable housing, including passing stronger tenant rights measures, and a proposal to make City College tuition free.
Kim and Wiener are products of San Francisco’s two divergent political camps, Kim from the progressive faction and Wiener from the moderate one.
That contrast has played itself on a number of political debates in the past year. Kim opposed building a new jail, while Wiener supported it. Kim opposed Proposition Q while Wiener was one of the co-signers to place it on the ballot.
That measure, backed by wealthy tech investors, expressly bans homeless tent encampments on sidewalks and allows The City to remove them in 24 hours if they offer shelter. But critics of the measure say it will only make life harder for the homeless residents since there isn’t enough shelter for the thousands living on the streets.
Kim opposed both the soda tax and the sales tax to fund Muni and homeless services, also on the November ballot, but Wiener supported both. Kim argued regressive taxes are bad policy.
When it came to campaign finance debates, Wiener criticized Kim for benefiting from spending from the soda industry, while Kim criticized Wiener’s support from real estate investors who oppose rent control, and tech investor Ron Conway.
S.F. Examiner staff writers Michael Barba and Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez contributed to this report.