Special election mailers have likely flooded your mailbox the last few weeks, as voters will be presented three consequential decisions on Feb. 15. Many of these placards are not coming from candidates but rather from a variety of political clubs that represent San Francisco communities and interest groups.
Most endorsements regarding the state Assembly race, the school board recall and the assessor/recorder seat come from Democratic clubs, but even these groups can reflect factional divisions.
For example, The Rose Pak Democratic Club supports former San Francisco Supervisor David Campos in the Assembly District 17 race, but it opposes recalling two of the three school board members. Meanwhile, the more centrist Ed Lee Democratic Club and the moderate Chinese American Democratic Club support all three recalls and gave current Supervisor Matt Haney and tech exec Bilal Mahmood dual endorsements for AD 17.
Political groups can circulate their own slate mailers, which are paid for by contributions from campaigns and members. If a club has leftover operating funds, this money can be used for a variety of purposes. The expenditures can help solidify relationships with winning candidates.
One big variable in the Feb. 15 election is the failure of the local Democratic Party—along with some other large clubs—to endorse in AD 17 or the school board recalls. And while Haney has a lead in total campaign fundraising, Campos leads in endorsements from established Democrat groups.
One surprise endorsement comes from the San Francisco Chronicle, which endorsed Mahmood for AD 17.
"But if ever there was a time to take a flier on an outsider candidate with big ideas, we believe it is now. At worst, Mahmood will be a consistent 'yes' vote for evidence-based policies that move California past its unsustainable status quo," the editorial board wrote.
The late and lukewarm endorsement comes late in the election cycle and one week after the San Francisco Examiner's endorsement of Haney.
Below is a list of the decisions voters must decide in the Feb. 15 special election, as well as a chart breaking down local endorsements:
Mike Ege can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org