Pundits deem city election predictable

Low voter turnout largely uncontested offices, and ballot measures that came without campaigns contributed to predictable election results in San Francisco, according to political consultants gathered for a post-election rundown.

Sponsored by the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association, or SPUR, the annual event attracts City Hall players and race watchers from across the political spectrum.

Usually held the day after an election, this year’s event was postponed nearly a week due to problems with San Francisco’s voting machines that have resulted in a time-intensive ballot counting process mandated by the state.

As of late Monday, about 14 percent of The City’s estimated 154,000 ballots were yet to be counted, according to San Francisco’s election chief, John Arntz.

Nonetheless, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom has been the presumed winner of the mayoral race since day one, having run against a cast of characters that lacked his fundraising ability and political clout.

On Monday, with 124,438 ballots counted, Newsom had 73 percent of the vote, and progressive Quintin Mecke trailed far behind in second place with 7 percent of the votes.</p>

District Attorney Kamala Harris, who ran with no challenger, captured 98 percent of the votes, and Sheriff Michael Hennessey was up 74 percent, with his challenger, deputy David Wong, at 26 percent.

Although there were six charter amendments on the ballot, only one —Measure A, which aims to reform Muni — came with a financially backed campaign.

As of Monday, it had a 10 percentage-point lead.

Conversely, Measure E — which would require the mayor to appear monthly a meeting of the Board of Supervisors — did not have a financially backed campaign of support.

Instead, it came up against, a well-funded campaign of opposition, backed by Newsom.

As of Monday, it was facing defeat by 4 percentage points, despite having been approved by voters as an advisory measure last November.

An ordinance to increase the number of parking spaces in some parts of San Francisco was defeated, largely due to campaigns that cast it as a negative step toward global warming, said the political consultants.

In 2003, more than 46 percent of San Francisco’s registered voters turned out for the mayoral election; this year, a 37 percent turnout has been estimated.

beslinger@examiner.com

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