After San Francisco Supervisor David Chiu’s lead expanded for a second day in a row over gay Supervisor David Campos in their heated contest for a state Assembly seat, Campos conceded Thursday night.
According to the most recent vote count, posted shortly after 4 p.m yesterday (November 6), Chiu’s margin of victory stood at 3,771 votes ahead of Campos. His lead in the race had already grown by 652 votes late Wednesday.
The latest tally now gives Chiu 51,878 votes, or 51.89 percent, compared to Campos’ 48,107 votes, or 48.11 percent.
As the Bay Area Reporter noted in its story on the race in yesterday’s paper, because numerous ballots remain to be counted by elections officials, both candidates were waiting to see additional vote tallies before they declared victory or conceded.
Even though the Department of Elections said it had 42,000 vote-by-mail ballots that were dropped off at polling places and an approximately 11,000 provisional ballots cast Tuesday still to count, Campos’s campaign determined there was little chance of seeing the vote count reverse.
In a message he posted to Facebook last night after 9 p.m., Campos said he had called Chiu to congratulate him on his victory in the race.
“As I write this my thoughts are with Supervisor Harvey Milk. Forty-two years ago Harvey made a similar call when he lost his own race for the 17th Assembly district by fewer then 4,000 votes,” wrote Campos, referring to the city’s first gay elected official due to his winning a supervisor seat in 1977. “It was one of many races that Harvey lost, in fact he was only a supervisor for 11 months before his murder. And yet the message that is most associated with him is that of hope. Right now my heart is filled with hope.”
Campos added that the city is experiencing “a time of great change,” and that through his campaign, “we have sent a powerful message that the people of San Francisco are alive, spirited, and ready to fight for our values and way of life. We made clear that we love this city, refuse to be pushed out and are a force to be reckoned with.”
In his own Facebook message last night, Chiu wrote that he and Campos “had a positive conversation and agreed to work together in the future for the good of San Francisco. While the race was often challenging, I applaud Supervisor Campos and all of his supporters on the passion and hard work that they put into the campaign.”
With Chiu victorious, it means San Francisco for the first time in nearly two decades does not have a gay or lesbian lawmaker representing the city in the state Assembly. Lesbian former lawmaker Carole Migden became the first to do so when she won her race for a legislative seat in 1996.
Gay lawmaker Mark Leno, currently serving in the state Senate, succeeded Migden in the Assembly in 2002. And since 2008 gay Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) has held the seat, now numbered the 17th Assembly District, covering the city’s eastern neighborhoods.
Whether the seat should remain in LGBT hands was one of the dominant themes in this year’s race. Among those who argued it should was Ammiano, who endorsed Campos to succeed him.
The Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club, statewide LGBT group Equality California, and numerous LGBT officials and leaders shared that view with Ammiano and vigorously backed Campos in the race.
But Chiu, who pledged to be a stalwart supporter of LGBT issues in the statehouse, also garnered significant LGBT support for his bid. He picked up backing, for example, from gay District 8 Supervisor Scott Wiener, the B.A.R., and the Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club.
If elected, Chiu has said he will petition to become a member of the California Legislative LGBT Caucus, even though it currently does not allow straight members of the Legislature to join it.
“I believe that as San Franciscans there is more that unites than divides us,” wrote Chiu in his Facebook message. “I look forward to continue working for each and every one of you to make sure that San Francisco remains the wonderful, special place that we all love. Thank you San Francisco!”