San Francisco Assembly candidates David Chiu (right in photo) and David Campos have leased storefronts for their campaign headquarters and are preparing for a policy forum next month hosted by an LGBT Democratic Club.
Chiu, who represents District 3 and is president of the Board of Supervisors, and Campos, a gay man who represents District 9, are seeking the Assembly seat currently held by gay state Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco), who will be termed out of office in December.
With similar voting records at City Hall, the two candidates have been trying to find ways to differentiate themselves in the eyes of voters. One argument Campos’ camp has made is the need to ensure an LGBT person holds the Assembly seat, which covers the city’s eastern neighborhoods and has been held by an out lawmaker since 1996.
Chiu and his supporters have countered that he has long been a vocal supporter of LGBT issues and would continue to do so if elected to the state Legislature. He has already approached the chair of the California Legislative LGBT Caucus about becoming a member if elected, although the caucus’ rules say it is only for LGBT lawmakers.
To bring even more visibility to his campaign within the city’s LGBT community, Chiu has opted to open his campaign headquarters in the heart of the city’s gay business district. He has taken over the vacant storefront at 549 Castro Street. It was formerly the home of gay-owned De La Sole shoe store, which closed last year.
His supporters and volunteers will help Chiu officially open his campaign headquarters at noon this Saturday, March 1. Among those expected to join Chiu are gay District 8 Supervisor Scott Wiener, who represents the Castro at City Hall, and lesbian Building Inspection Commissioner Debra Walker.
As for Campos’ campaign, it opted for a storefront at 3143 Mission Street, across the street from queer bars El Rio and Virgil. It moved in in early February and plans to have an official HQ opening party on March 29th.
In response to questions from the Bay Area Reporter, Campos Campaign Manager Nate Allbee said the campaign is “exploring the option of a satellite office with the Castro being our first choice.”
In the meantime, both candidates are preparing for a public debate that the Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club is hosting Wednesday, March 12. Melissa Griffin Caen, a legal and political analyst for local CBS affiliate KPIX5 and KGO radio will moderate.
The event is free and open to the public. It will take place from 6 to 7 p.m. in the Rainbow Room at the LGBT Community Center, located at 1800 Market Street.