Progressive candidate Chesa Boudin closed the gap on interim District Attorney Suzy Loftus after more votes were counted Thursday in San Francisco’s top prosecutor race.
The number of votes separating Loftus from Boudin shrunk from thousands to hundreds when the Department of Elections counted more than 28,000 votes in the contest.
Loftus was leading Boudin by a small margin of 2,205 votes on Wednesday. But the margin decreased to just 879 votes under the latest tally.
Boudin has 67,037 votes compared to 67,916 votes for Loftus.
Political consultant Jim Ross would not predict a winner but said Boudin still has a shot at victory.
Under the ranked-choice system, Boudin has been leading in first-choice votes, while Loftus has continued to have more second-choice votes from the eliminated candidates, Nancy Tung and Leif Dautch.
“The question is are there enough first-place votes for Chesa to keep up because he’s losing the second-choice votes,” Ross said.
The votes counted Thursday were from vote-by-mail ballots that were dropped off at polling stations on the day of the election.
There are some 38,000 more ballots that have yet to be counted, according to the Department of Elections. That includes 13,000 provisional ballots.
“If the remaining votes look more like today, it will be difficult for Loftus to overcome Boudin through the [ranked-choice voting] tally,” said Jason McDaniel, an associate professor of political science at San Francisco State University.
“One big story is that about one-third of DA race voters who voted for either Dautch or Tung did not rank either Loftus or Boudin,” McDaniel said. “That may end up costing Loftus the election.”
Loftus said in a statement, “I remain hopeful that future results will keep us in the lead.”
In the other close election contest, progressive challenger Dean Preston retook the lead in the District 5 race over Supervisor Vallie Brown.
Preston now leads Brown by 35 votes with 9,221 votes compared to 9,186 for Brown. He previously trailed her by 88 votes on Wednesday.
“I don’t think you are going to be able to predict how this race is going to turn out until the last vote is counted,” said Ross.
Thursday’s District 5 figures include 3,934 newly counted ballots.
It’s unclear how many more ballots remain to count in just the District 5 contest, but the Department of Elections said there were 1,880 provisional ballots still to count.
Preston’s campaign manager Jen Snyder said, “We are hopeful and of course so so so cautiously optimistic.”
The Department of Elections is scheduled to issue the next update on Friday around 4 pm.
This story has been updated.