Today is an election day in numerous communities across California. These odd year elections are generally reserved for low-level decisions about school bonds or assessment districts. However in San Francisco it is the culmination of a down and dirty election for Mayor. The San Francisco Chronicle has quick rundown of the knock-down drag-out contest for Room 200.
So who will win? First we need to look at Ranked Choice Voting. In San Francisco on you get to vote for your top three choices (Huh?). That’s right your top three. When tabulating votes every candidate retains their first choice votes. If no candidate receives 50%-plus-one they kick out the last place candidate and distribute the second choice on their ballots to the other candidates. Sound confusing? It is for San Franciscans as well. This process was used in the last election for the Mayor of Oakland – the second place Mayor won.
The election for Mayor technically includes over 30 candidates, but only seven are considered viable. Of those in the running four are standouts in my mind:
Mayor Ed Lee – Current Mayor voted in by the Board of Supervisors to replace the departing Gavin Newsom. Lee originally promised to not run but after showing his skill as no-flash get-things-done Mayor (rare in SF) the political elite convinced him to run. He is currently the smart money favorite.
State Senator Leland Yee – A former Supervisor and State Legislator Yee has long had his on the Mayor’s office. Considered a front runner until Lee jumped in Leland has been a constant presence in the top three candidates.
Supervisor Chiu – Current Board President who consented to allow Lee move forward as the appointed Mayor based on his promise to not run. Chiu is considered a young up and comer in the SF political world. While some fault him for lack of experience, it is also what makes him attractive to others.
City Attorney Dennis Herrera – Herrera has been a mainstay on appointed commissions before becoming the City Attorney, a role when wielded wisely can put one on the political map. Herrera has been a solid candidate and having successfully defending universal healthcare and same sex marriage in the courts he is well known.
So again, who will win? My money is on current Mayor Ed Lee and front runner from day one to win in Ranked Choice Voting round 7 or 8. I am going with Chiu on a long shot for second place, as the saying goes “this kid has moxie.”