Two candidates could split vote in race for District 9 seat

On Guard column header Joe

A new candidate has jumped into what may be one of San Francisco’s hottest political tussles in 2016.

On Monday, Edwin Lindo officially announced his candidacy for District 9 supervisor, which represents the Mission, Portola and Bernal Heights districts.

District 9, Lindo told me, “is in the eye of the storm. We need someone who’ll push solutions bigger than the problems we’re facing right now.”

Lindo, vice president of political affairs for the local Latino Democratic Club, joins Hillary Ronen, who is Supervisor David Campos’ legislative aide, as the only publicly known candidates for Campos’ seat.

Ronen filed a candidate intention statement on Nov. 16.

Lindo said he filed Nov. 2, though the documents are not publicly available online.
Ronen told the San Francisco Examiner she’s running because she has “a deep love of the district,” and, “the knowledge and experience of how to fight and move legislation.”

Now that there are two progressives in the race, however, the vote to beat back moderate opposition may be split. And though ranked choice voting may lessen that impact, a split may shuffle endorsements, allegiances, and overall campaign power – all which will be key for progressives to topple any moderate candidate who comes out of the woodwork.

Campos, a noted progressive, will term out in 2016. The District 9 seat he now occupies is one of three famously left-leaning supervisor seats up for election, as progressive supervisors John Avalos and Eric Mar will also term out.

With Supervisor-elect Aaron Peskin now on the Board of Supervisors, the board majority favors left-leaning progressives, with a 6-5 split. The 2016 elections then would give center-right moderates the chance to take back the board.

The real District 9 opponent is still waiting in in the wings: Joshua Arce. An attorney who works with the Laborers International Union, Arce has long been rumored to be running for the seat with the support of The City’s political “moderates.” Though he has not officially announced candidacy, a “personal endorsement” from a local San Franciscan for Arce’s candidacy has surfaced online.

Moderate political support for Arce means big labor money, and big tech money, may flood the race. Remember the titanic tech cash billionaire angel investor Ron Conway and his pals spent on Christensen?

You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

Arce has close ties to trade unions, natural allies of housing developers. And he’s already announced his candidacy for his previously appointed seat on the Democratic County Central Committee – long known as a way to raise additional cash for supervisoral runs.

Of course, this race will also be hotly watched because the Mission is the epicenter of The City’s gentrification crisis: Evictions, “Google Buses,” tech workers and those really annoying reclaimed-wood coffee shops are all transforming the neighborhood this very moment.

Lindo’s father fought eviction for 10 years, but gave up the fight in early 2014, Lindo said. Lindo was born at St. Luke’s Hospital and grew up in Bernal Heights.

“There’ll be great candidates in this race. There is only one who was raised by this community, that holds me accountable not just to constituents but to my family,” he said.

Ronen is viewed by politicos as more experienced, given her time in Campos’ office and as a workers’ rights attorney. Despite his chops, Lindo is oft-seen as more of a newcomer.

Ronen was long rumored to run for the seat, begging a question: Why would Lindo split the vote?

On background, sources said certain Mission political factions may feel Campos was hand-selected by his predecessor, Tom Ammiano, and that now Campos is also preparing Ronen to run for the same District 9 seat.

Some may call this good politics, as the moderate faction has long prepared candidates to run years down the line. It’s a proven tactic to help ensure experience to execute an effective campaign.

Factions of the Mission don’t see it that way, instead claiming Ronen’s run is an imposition of leadership.

Lindo is the candidate of those factions, and we asked Lindo if he feels he may be hurting the progressive left’s chances to beat Arce.

“We fought for ranked choice voting for this exact reason, so we could have multiple good candidates fight in an election,” Lindo said.

On policy, Ronen and Lindo fall in line, he admitted.

“We’re pretty damn close,” he said. But the difference to Lindo is experience: He knows poverty and remembers sleeping on the floor of his grandmother’s house. Both of his parents are immigrants, he said, and he’s a native San Franciscan.

Ronen said the experience she values is her 13 years working in and around the Mission. She’s also a mother.

Campos supports Ronen, and said, “At the end of the day, you need someone with the experience and the knowhow to keep this city affordable for regular people.”

The chips are almost finally all on the table in District 9. All that’s left is for Arce to ante up.

On Guard prints the news and raises hell each week. Email him at

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