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Politics & Policy

Stefani, Lee lead in race to replace Ting in state Assembly

Split image: left shows a man speaking into a microphone; right shows a woman addressing microphones, blurred background.
David Lee, left, and San Francisco Supervisor Catherine Stefani were the top two vote-getters in the race to replace Assemblymember Phil Ting. | Source: Gina Castro/The Standard; Han Li/The Standard

San Francisco District 2 Supervisor Catherine Stefani and educator David Lee jumped out to an early lead Tuesday in the race to determine who will go to Sacramento to represent parts of San Francisco and San Mateo County in the state Assembly. 

Assembly District 19 has a population of roughly half a million and covers western San Francisco and northwestern San Mateo County. Incumbent Assemblymember Phil Ting is terming out after 12 years of holding the seat.

Stefani and Lee, both Democrats, were facing two Republicans, Nadia Flamenco and Arjun Gustav Sodhani.

The top two winners of the primary will advance to the general election in November.

Early results from both counties showed Stefani with 56% of the vote, while Lee had 28%.

Stefani, an outspoken attorney who focuses on gun control and public safety, picked up big-name endorsements in the Bay Area political world, while Ting and a coalition of San Francisco progressive leaders were supporting Lee.

“I'm very excited that our message has resonated with both San Mateo and San Francisco,” Stefani said at the election night party. “It gives me more momentum to go into the general.”

One of Lee’s campaign strategies was about Asian American political representation, as the Assembly district's population is over 40% Asian and the seat has been held by Chinese Americans since 2002.

If Stefani wins the general election in November, she will need to resign from her supervisor seat, and San Francisco's mayor will appoint her replacement.

The other two state legislators representing San Francisco, Assemblymember Matt Haney and state Sen. Scott Wiener, have no major challengers and are expected to win comfortably.