Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 7 / 15 February 2018

LGBTs win seats on SF Dem panel


Laurel Muniz, left, watches as candidates Petra DeJesus, John Avalos, and David Chiu, check the results of the race for seats on the San Francisco Democratic County Central Committee at a small election night party Tuesday at El Rio bar in the Mission. (Photo: Rick Gerharter)
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In the race for seats on the local Democratic Party's oversight panel, LGBT candidates captured a majority of seats allocated to the city's eastside Assembly District 17 that covers many gay neighborhoods. Only one of two gay men running in the westside Assembly District 19 race was victorious.

Sixty-three people ran for the 24 seats on what is known as the Democratic County Central Committee. Referred to as the "D triple C," the panel elects one of its own members as chair of the local party and makes coveted endorsements in city elections.

Nine out contenders running for the 14 seats up for grabs in AD17 claimed victory based on unofficial returns Wednesday. Gay Supervisors David Campos (District 9) and Scott Wiener (District 8) easily won re-election to their DCCC seats.

Campos placed third with 18,426 votes behind fellow DCCC member and Board President David Chiu (District 3), who came in first place, and second place finisher District 11 Supervisor John Avalos.

Other out DCCC incumbents winning re-election were bisexual Police Commissioner Petra DeJesus; gay City Attorney spokesman Matt Dorsey; and lesbian Port Commissioner Leslie Katz. Lesbian former state lawmaker Carole Migden and gay political activist Rafael Mandelman also won re-election to the DCCC.

Zoe Dunning, left, who won a seat on the DCCC, shares a moment with her wife, Pam Grey, at her election night party at Blackbird. (Photo: Jane Philomen Cleland)

Joining them on the party committee will be newcomers Bevan Dufty, a gay former supervisor who is Mayor Ed Lee's homelessness policy aide, and Zoe Dunning, a lesbian retired Navy Reserve commander.

Rounding out the list of AD17 winners are attorney Alix Rosenthal, a DCCC incumbent, and newcomers District 10 Supervisor Malia Cohen and Dr. Justin Morgan.

"It was a bittersweet election result, of course, for the great candidates and friends who didn't win. But thanks to all who ran; who took part in the campaigns; and who put up with us these last several months," Dorsey posted on his Facebook page Wednesday morning.

In the AD19 DCCC race, where 10 seats were up for grabs, gay incumbent Arlo Hale Smith sailed to re-election while gay LGBT rights and housing activist Kevin Bard came up short. Smith placed first with 10,977 votes according to the unofficial tally; Bard finished in 14th place with 5,257 votes.

Other AD19 incumbents who won re-election are Bill Fazio, Hene Kelly, Mary Jung, and Tom Hsieh. Joining them will be Kat Anderson, Trevor McNeil, Kelly Dwyer, and Meagan Levitan.

With District 1 Supervisor Eric Mar also winning a DCCC seat in AD19, there will be six sitting supervisors on the party committee. Since that represents a majority of the 11-member board, the DCCC will now be subjected to the city's sunshine ordinance and will be required to post agendas and minutes for its meetings.

Having so many elected officials, as well as a number of DCCC incumbents, former lawmakers and City Hall aides, running for the 24 DCCC seats, it had been expected those with less name recognition would find themselves hindered in the race. While that held true, Tuesday's election results also had some surprises.

Two DCCC incumbents, Leah Pimentel and transgender labor organizer Gabriel Haaland, failed to win re-election. Transgender schoolteacher Jamie Rafaela Wolfe also failed to win a seat, meaning for the first time in over a decade the DCCC will not have a transgender member.

In a note he posted to Facebook Tuesday night, Haaland wrote that he was fine with his defeat but was sorry to see Wolfe not win.

"I sat on the DCCC for 10 years, and learned a lot, met some great folks, and genuinely enjoyed serving. That said, I'm really sorry Jamie Rafaela Wolfe didn't prevail. I had hoped that one of us would win and that there would be continued representation by someone from class=textexposedshow>the transgender community," wrote Haaland. "And while I'm happy for all of the candidates who got elected individually, I'm also sorry that so few progressives were elected which probably will mean a more moderate direction for the party."

Other LGBT candidates coming up short in the DCCC AD17 race included gay BART community relations liaison Christopher Vasquez; taxi advocate Dean Clark; AIDS activist Stu Smith; and Democratic activist Rick Hauptman.

Once the new DCCC members are sworn in, their first order of business will be to elect a new party chair, as the current holder of the post, former supervisor Aaron Peskin, opted not to seek re-election to the panel. Among those whose names have been mentioned as a possible successor are Dorsey, Mandelman, and Rosenthal.


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