D5 supe race
by Matthew S. Bajko
The city's first bisexual supervisor saw her tenure at City Hall come to an end Tuesday night, bringing to a close one of the most divisive election battles San Francisco has experienced.
Appointed District 5 Supervisor Christina Olague, buffeted by critics on both the left and right, failed to secure a full four-year term representing the Haight and Western Addition at City Hall. She had been appointed earlier this year by Mayor Ed Lee to fill a vacancy and becomes the first sitting supervisor to be defeated in more than a decade.
"It's all good. I don't regret it," Olague told the Bay Area Reporter Tuesday night as she watched election results come in with her supporters at Rasselas Jazz Club in the Fillmore. "Obama winning is a plus. That is awesome."
London Breed, who grew up in the district in the Fillmore and now serves as the executive director of the African American Art and Culture Complex, emerged the winner in the hotly contested race.
"The most heartfelt and deepest thanks to all of you and thank you for never giving up," Breed posted on Facebook late Tuesday night.
Because of her backing Mayor Ed Lee last year in the mayoral race, Olague had failed to draw much support from progressives. Her vote to support a waterfront development also soured progressives on her candidacy.
That began to change when she bucked the mayor and voted in early October to reinstate Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi to his elected office. Lee had suspended Mirkarimi, the former District 5 supervisor, after he pleaded guilty to a charge of false imprisonment in a domestic violence case involving his wife.
The District 5 race was further upended when a woman who works for Lee went public with accusations that one of the candidates, Julian Davis, had inappropriately groped her at a bar. Although Davis denied the charges leveled against him, it derailed his campaign.
In recent weeks independent groups, backed by supporters of the mayor's, attacked Olague for her vote in support of Mirkarimi. Meanwhile Breed was accused of being a pawn for developers and landlords after the local Realtors association created an ad supporting her bid.
Heading into Election Day the race appeared to be wide open. But after several rounds of ranked-choice voting, Breed emerged the winner with 11,019 votes or 56.19 percent.
Olague placed second, based on the unofficial returns, with 8,591 votes or 43.81 percent. College board member John Rizzo was third, with 6,583 votes or 28.22 percent, while Davis came in fourth with 4,757 votes or 19.36 percent.
At her election night party Olague all but conceded she had lost, saying she was ready to go back to community organizing. She also called out the downtown backers, such as Ron Conway, and two of Lee's gay staffers, chief of staff Steve Kawa and senior adviser Tony Winnicker, for being behind the attack ads and "sleazy money" funneled into the race.
"If nothing else it feels awesome to be liberated from both the left and the right. We are completely independent and it is awesome," said Olague, who left Wednesday for a five-day vacation in Oslo, Norway. "Now is the moment to bury the hatchet and move forward together, even though I won't be serving as your supervisor, most likely."
Olague wasn't the only out candidate to come up short Tuesday night. Gay journalist Joel Engardio lost his bid to win the open District 7 supervisor seat covering the neighborhoods west of Twin Peaks.
Having run unopposed for his District 9 seat, gay Supervisor David Campos coasted to victory and is already seen as a leading candidate to seek the city's 17th Assembly District seat in 2014. District 11 Supervisor John Avalos, who also ran unopposed for a second term Tuesday, may also seek the state legislative seat as both he and Campos will be termed out of office in 2016.
Other incumbents on the board were also victorious Tuesday, with District 3 Supervisor David Chiu beating back several lesser-known opponents and District 1 Supervisor Eric Mar handily defeating his challenger, David Lee, for his district centered in the Richmond.
Mar received 11,504 votes or 54 percent while Lee fell short with 7,876 votes or 38.48 percent.
Based on unofficial returns Wednesday, it appears that labor leader Francis "FX" Crowley will be joining Breed on the board as the incoming District 7 supervisor. Crowley emerged the winner in the open race after five rounds of ranked-choice voting.
On election night outgoing school board president Norman Yee had held a slight edge. But his vote tally dropped him into second place under the instant voter runoff system.
By Wednesday Yee had 8,724 votes or 49.05 percent while Crowley was in first place with 9,062 votes or 50.95 percent.
As for Engardio, he landed in fourth place, with a final tally of 3,455 votes or 16.10 percent. He told the Bay Area Reporter Wednesday that he was pleased with his campaign but his partner is ready for him to return to being employed after spending the last year focused on the race.
"There is no reason to be disappointed at all," said Engardio, who went to see the movie Cloud Atlas Tuesday to keep his mind off of the election results. "My partner, Lionel, has been so great in helping me with the campaign. But I think he wants me to get a good paying job, preferably in the private sector."