Four years ago, Gavin Newsom’s campaign headquarters was a hive of activity. On Sunday, however, two days before voters go to the polls again, Newsom appeared to give his worker bees the day off.
Well, maybe not all the workers. Field Coordinator Aaron Goldsmith manned the phones at the mayor’s massive and deserted campaign headquarters Sunday. When he was an intern during the 2003 race and subsequent runoff against Matt Gonzalez, he said the pace was frantic.
Newsom’s campaign consultant, Eric Jaye, said the mayor is in no way cruising into Tuesday’s election. Hundreds came out Saturday night for a rallying speech, volunteers have canvassed The City all weekend and come Election Day, Jaye promised, the campaign team will ring 50,000 doorbells.
For the mayor’s 11 challengers, however, Sunday was a time to hustle, doing their best to get the word out in what some call the race for second place.
Quintin Mecke, a nonprofit program director, and Chicken John Rinaldi, a former circus director, joined forces Sunday. Both candidates called on volunteers to pass out slate cards throughout The City.
Rinaldi said he knew going into the election that he had no chance of winning, but the opportunity to bring issues to the fore was too tempting to resist. On Saturday night, those issues were the hot topic, as Rinaldi debated a Newsom puppet.
“The puppet totally won,” he said.
Volunteers for candidates Ahimsa Porter Sumchai and Harold Hoogasian made phone calls on Sunday to spread the word.
Alec “Grasshopper” Kaplan, a homeless cabdriver, ran into a snag as he campaigned Sunday. Someone broke into his purple minivan in view of City Hall and stole his guitar, “Smoky.”
City College music professor Wilma Pang met with merchants and community members on the streets of the Sunset district. Pang said she expects to garner a large portion of the immigrant and minority vote.
Due to a ballot-machine snafu, the San Francisco Department of Elections must count every vote by hand, which means that it could be weeks before results come through.
That’s fine for George Davis, a nudist and yoga enthusiast who spent his day at Baker Beach passing out buttons. He said that once his supporters left the beach they’d probably have some clothes on for a place to pin those buttons.
“In a perfect world, I would wake up on Wednesday with 100 percent of the vote,” Davis said.
Newsom said he’s only interested in 51 percent.
Each day until voters go to the polls Nov. 6, The Examiner lays odds on local figures beating Mayor Gavin Newsom. Check out our exclusive blog: San Francisco's Next Mayor?