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Politics & Policy

Bilal Mahmood throws support behind Matt Haney in SF assembly race

Bilal Mahmood phone banks in his campaign office in the Mission District on Feb. 15, 2022. | Camille Cohen

Former Assembly District 17 candidate Bilal Mahmood announced Thursday that he’s endorsing San Francisco Supervisor Matt Haney in a runoff election against former Supervisor David Campos. 

Mahmood received 22.3% of votes in the February primary election after dropping more than $400,000 of his own funds into the campaign. Haney and Campos, the two politically established candidates in the primary race, received 36.4% and 35.7% of the final vote, respectively, and they’re now locked into a heated race that will be determined on April 19. The special election was prompted by David Chiu resigning from the Assembly to become San Francisco’s city attorney. 

“I am confident that Matt will champion progress over stagnation and deliver on bold solutions to urgent challenges like our housing shortage and climate crisis,” Mahmood said in a press release.  

In recent weeks, the race to represent the eastern half of San Francisco in the State Assembly has become more contentious as both Haney and Campos accused each other of misrepresenting themselves to voters. Haney currently presides over District 6, which includes the Tenderloin, parts of the SoMa, Mission Bay and South Beach neighborhoods. Campos has publicly criticized Haney’s role as a supervisor for the Tenderloin district, in which over a quarter of the city’s overdoses have occurred in recent years. Haney accused Campos of singling out the Tenderloin as a dog whistle to voters.

However, Haney prevailed in a lawsuit Monday as a judge determined that Campos could no longer distinguish himself as a civil rights attorney on the ballot. In November, Campos took a step down from his role as the chief of staff for district attorney Chesa Boudin, who is facing a recall election in June.  

Mahmood, who lacked political experience coming into the race, quickly became a legitimate contender in the primary election by aligning himself with a more moderate base and voters who work in tech. In a statement, Haney said he plans to collaborate with Mahmood on ideas he championed during the primary race.

Haney said they will“work together closely to pursue the big ideas [Mahmood] put forward during the primary, including guaranteed income, launching a California climate bank, and creating a green production board to expedite sustainable projects.”