June election chat: the State Senate primary

66 days until voting opens on May 9 in San Francisco

The June San Francisco election has three local races in addition to the national presidential primaries: The DCCC election, the ballot measures, and the State Senate primary.

The State Senate Primary
The State senate primary race for District 11 is between Scott Wiener and Jane Kim. All of San Francisco can vote in it as well as parts of San Mateo.

California has open primaries—the top two vote getters in the June primary go on to battle each other in November. There is no doubt that Jane and Scott will be the top two in June. The questions are: “Who will be number 1?” and “By how much?”

Scott won the California State Democratic Party endorsement by a landslide. This is an incredibly valuable endorsement, purportedly worth eight percentage points in the general election (that’s about 40,000 votes). According to pre-convention scuttlebutt, Scott anticipated getting 70% of the delegate votes. He wound up getting 80% of the delegate votes at the convention because not all of Jane’s delegates turned in their ballots. David Campos (current city supervisor for the Mission, District 9), for instance, didn’t turn in his ballot at all.

What happened? Apparently Jane’s campaign just got caught flat footed: Joe Fitz, the San Francisco Examiner columnist, drops stunning allegations that Scott Weiner is unfairly stealing the election by being organized, competent, and responsive to constituents:

“One thing he does, and I don’t know if this does help him, he is tireless,” Mandelman said. “If you write him with a concern or a complaint if you are a constituent, you will get a thoughtful response even if he doesn’t agree with you. Often it’s a long response. That goes a fair way to winning people over.”

The Bay Guardian ran an article in 2013 making the same allegations.

If I wasn’t already sold on Scott as a candidate, those two columns might be enough to convince me to vote or volunteer for him. What kind of a political culture is Jane Kim embedded in if her cheerleaders believe that “effective” is adjective they can use to criticize someone? Scott Wiener, terrible politician, he makes goals and accomplishes them. Vote for Jane! She can barely put one foot in front of the other! Does she make goals? Who knows? Who cares, because she can’t remember what she’s doing from one day to the next! What world am I living in?

I understand wanting to advocate for the underdog, but advocating requires effective action. I’m afraid the political culture Jane is embedded in is mistaking becoming the underdog (by being less competent) for advocating for the underdog. As an underdog, I don’t want an advocate that finds value in losing.

Based on Scott & Jane’s performances so far, my guess is Scott will win in June, but it’s not at all clear. Moreover, if Scott wins by a wide margin, Jane’s ability to fundraise for the rest of the year will be crippled.

Help Scott win in June, what you can do:

  1. Make sure you and your friends are registered to vote. Do it online. You don’t need a California driver’s license to register to vote. You don’t need to be a “California resident” — I don’t even know what people mean when they say that. I’ve had this conversation about 10,000 time:
    “I can’t register here, I’m not a resident of San Francisco.”
    “Oh, where do you live?”
    *they give me an San Francisco address or neighborhood*
    “Do you live somewhere else for six months out of the year?”
    “No, I live here all the time.”
    “Do you own property somewhere else, and you’re claiming a homestead exemption on your property taxes?”
    “No, lol, who can own property?!”
    “Where are you a resident of, if not where you live now?”
    “…”
    “You live here, you are a resident here, register to vote here, there’s no where else that claims you if not here.”
    “Oh well I didn’t get a California driver’s license yet”
    “You don’t need a California driver’s license to register to vote.”
  2. Vote in June. Did you know, you can vote at City Hall any day from May 9, 2016 to June 7, 2016? You can also send in a mail-in ballot or vote at your neighborhood polling station on June 7.
  3. Tell your friends to vote in June and make sure they do it.
  4. Volunteer to phone bank or precinct walk for the campaign. Contact Armand Domalewski, he’ll tell you what to do.