San Francisco City Supervisor Matt Haney defeated San Francisco District Attorney Chief of Staff and former Supervisor David Campos with over 63% of the vote on Tuesday in the special Assembly District 17 run-off election.
The seat had been open since late September 2021 when then-Assemblyman David Chiu resigned after being appointed San Francisco City Attorney by Mayor London Breed. This triggered a special election for mid-February, coinciding with the recall election of three members of the San Francisco School Board. Haney and Campos were the top vote getters in February, beating out fellow candidates Bilal Mahmood and Thea Selby. However, neither Haney or Campos reached a 50% plurality, resulting in the need for a special run-off election two months later.
Haney, who was on the SF School Board from 2012 until being elected and sworn-in as a city Supervisor in 2019, spent $700,000 on the election between January and April. This was roughly the same for Campos, who was previouslybut a Supervisor between 2008 and 2017, was narrowly defeated for the Assembly previously in 2014 by Chiu by less than 3,000 votes. Campos has been DA Chesa Boudin’s Chief of Staff since 2020.
However, PACs supporting Haney brought in over $1.7 million to the race against Campos, putting him at a disadvantage. Also hurting Campos going in was an ongoing wrongful termination suit filed against him, being tied closely to the unpopular Boudin, a low voter turnout, differences over the Stevenson Street project, and differences on housing stances in the city. In a concession speech Tuesday night, Campos specifically called out “big money” for causing his defeat.
“I’m not sure what the numbers will look like in the end, but it doesn’t seem like we’re going to be able to win this race,” said Campos in his speech. “My campaign was a fight for the soul of San Francisco, because the city must be a place that welcomes all people, including poor and working-class San Franciscans. Big money has figured out how to win elections and that’s what happened here.”
His campaign manager, Daniel Anderson, said something along similar lines, noting on Tuesday that “Tonight’s outcome shows where the electorate is, in a special election in San Francisco in 2022. And I think the message is pretty loud and clear. We saw it once with the school board recall election. We saw it once now.”
63.3% to 36.7%
Before absentee ballots are counted, Haney led Campos with an insurmountable lead as of Wednesday morning, leading with 38,916 votes, or 63.3%, to 22,567 votes, or 36.7%. The gap between the two became readily apparent within the first hour of results coming in Tuesday night, with Haney announcing his victory early in the evening.
“I’m not shocked, said Haney. “We campaigned in every neighborhood. We likely won in every supervisor district. We worked hard. This was decisive. I respect David. I don’t have anything bad to say about him.
“This coalition that we pulled together is one that I think we haven’t seen before in San Francisco. Working people, labor unions, housing advocates, people from neighborhoods all across the city.”
In a tweet Wednesday morning, Haney added, “We made nearly 180,000 calls and knocked on over 85,000 doors. So proud of our incredible field team, volunteers and supporters. This is still how you win elections–listening to people, speaking to them directly about things they care about, and hard work.”
We made nearly 180,000 calls and knocked on over 85,000 doors.
So proud of our incredible field team, volunteers and supporters led by @hanzousf.
This is still how you win elections–listening to people, speaking to them directly about things they care about, and hard work. pic.twitter.com/08Cz5MEyAh
— Matt Haney (@MattHaneySF) April 20, 2022
Many election experts in the Bay Area noted on Tuesday that the result had been largely expected due to Haney’s progressive leanings attracting many voters, as well as his recent notoriety for penning some of America’s most progressive new laws and propositions in recent years, including an “Overpaid CEO Tax” that San Francisco voters approved of in 2020.
“Haney winning wasn’t exactly a surprise,” noted San Francisco-based policy advisor Sharon Burke to the Globe on Tuesday. “Campos had more faults going in, with many voting essentially going in with what both had done recently. Campos had been a Supervisor for nearly a decade, but he had been out of an elected position for five years and has been working for Boudin, who, to say the least, is not popular here. Especially on things like crime. Haney though, as liberal as he is, has been active through being a Supervisor. Ultimately, Campos had a lot more baggage despite more experience. Sure, campaign funds were a factor, but there was a lot more going on there.
“Democrats got the seat essentially reactivated in time for some major voting. And with some of their party going against some bills coming up, they’ll need him.”
The vote is expected to be certified by April 28th. Haney and Campos, as well as Republican candidate Bill Shireman, are to meet next in the June Primary for the district.
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