The celebration was rowdy on Tuesday as Matt Haney proclaimed victory over David Campos in the race for one of San Francisco's State Assembly seats, securing 63.3% of the votes in a landslide win with most ballots counted.
“Not only did we win, we won by over 27 points, which is about as decisive a victory as you can get," Haney proclaimed.
"We started this campaign as a fight for the soul of San Francisco," Campos said to the crowd gathered at his election night party at El Rio. "We may have lost tonight, but the battle for the soul of San Francisco is not over."
Tuesday’s special election was a run-off between Campos and Haney after the pair were the top two vote-getters in February’s primary. The Department of Elections announced Wednesday morning that there were still about 16,400 ballots to process, meaning that Campos would need to win about 99.9% of the remaining ballots in order to beat Haney.
Including the uncounted ballots, voter turnout was at 29.2%, the lowest in a San Francisco election in the past decade. The department will issue another voter turnout update at 4 p.m. on Thursday. A general election for the same seat, with slightly redrawn district lines, still looms in November, with a primary in June.
A fairly lively crowd filled Victory Hall in SoMa Tuesday night, enjoying drinks and music from DJ Marcus Lee. AD 17 candidate Bilal Mahmood and President of the Board of Supervisors Shamann Walton mingled with Haney staff and supporters as the results came in.
In claiming his win over Campos, Haney made sure to give a shout to his hometown constituency. “We are not done fighting for District 6,” he told the crowd. “I will fight for District 6 in Sacramento.” Mayor London Breed will now appoint a replacement for Haney.
A representative for the Campos campaign said the candidate is currently undecided whether to actively campaign for the June election.
Haney will head to Sacramento to fill the seat vacated when City Attorney David Chiu was appointed last fall to replace Dennis Herrera, who is now head of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission.
Haney and Campos each got around 35% of the vote in the February election, where they handily defeated opponents Thea Selby and Bilal Mahmood.
Cornerstone issues this election include housing policy and the future of the Tenderloin, as the two candidates vied for support from key San Francisco power brokers. Haney won an endorsement from Mayor London Breed and YIMBY Action while Campos secured the support of former Mayor Willie Brown and many unions, including the SF Tenants Union. The state Democratic party ultimately voted to make no endorsement in the race.
Haney will serve out the remainder of Chiu’s term, which ends at the end of this year. He—and anyone else vying for the seat in the future—will have to run twice more this year, first in a June primary and then again in a November general election to fill the seat for the coming two years.
Campos, Haney and William Shireman, who is registered as a Republican, have already filed for the June primary and will compete again for this same seat, but this time with redrawn district lines, in just a few months.
Correction: An earlier version of this story made an erroneous reference to the changes at the SFPUC.
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