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Donald Trump Is Running Again. Don’t Expect Much Support in San Francisco

Written by Peter-Astrid KanePublished Nov. 15, 2022 • 6:29pm
Donald Trump waves at a campaign rally on June 2, 2016 in San Jose. | Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images

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As expected, former President Donald Trump has declared his candidacy for the nation’s highest office once again. Brushing off concerns about his two impeachments and the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection, he filed the necessary paperwork to run for president on Tuesday.

“In order to make America great and glorious again, I am tonight announcing my candidacy for president of the United States,” Trump said from Mar-a-Lago, his residence in Palm Beach.

Trump’s move comes after an expected “red wave” failed to materialize in last week’s midterms—particularly in deep-blue California. The GOP is likely to obtain a narrow majority when the House of Representatives convenes in January, but Republicans will hold only 11 seats in the Golden State’s 52-member delegation.  

Meanwhile, Gov. Gavin Newsom, Sen. Alex Padilla and every other Democrat running for a statewide position also won. Much of the blame for the disappointing GOP results seems to have fallen on the ex-president. Trump’s stock has waned among Republicans, who cite his age, false claims of election fraud and a general sense of fatigue.

“I think he, as a candidate, ran his course,” said Stephen Martin-Pinto, a libertarian-turned-Republican who ran for San Francisco supervisor in 2020. “He had his chance and served as president, and now I think people are getting tired of him, especially with this pettiness that he’s shown.”

Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during an election night event at Mar-a-Lago on Nov. 8, 2022, in Palm Beach, Florida. | Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Martin-Pinto went on to tell The Standard that he’s currently supporting Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and said that other local conservatives may take a wait-and-see approach.

Twitter’s new CEO Elon Musk, for his part, weighed in on the lack of GOP support in the city with a tweet saying that it was “borderline illegal to support Republicans in San Francisco!”

Richie Greenberg, a conservative-leaning independent who tweets prolifically about San Francisco politics, said of the 2024 election that, “It’s way too early to know. Let’s see who throws their name in the hat for the next year.” 

“That being said, I can’t support anyone divisive and incompetent,” Greenberg added. “That includes Biden as well as Trump.”

Not long ago, the prospect of Trump bestowing a nickname on intraparty rivals was enough to keep them in line. But calling the freshly reelected DeSantis “Ron DeSanctimonious” did not have its intended effect, and some party insiders have become increasingly critical of Trump mounting a third presidential run

Allies with political aspirations of their own seem undeterred, with some earning standing ovations for criticizing him. Mega-donors are calling Trump a “three-time loser,” while on Monday, The Wall Street Journal editorial page unequivocally urged the party to back another candidate. Even mild-mannered Vice President Mike Pence appears more willing to criticize his old boss. 

While prominent anti-Trump Republicans like Rep. Liz Cheney or Rep. Adam Kinzinger lost their primaries or chose to retire, Republicans in purple-trending areas of California won their elections by seemingly mentioning the ex-president as little as possible. 

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Two Republicans, incumbent Rep. David Valadao and hopeful John Duarte, each won elections in slightly Democratic-leaning districts in the Central Valley. Neither mentions Trump on their website—and Valadao, who was one of very few Republicans to vote in favor of Trump’s second impeachment, seems not to mention him at all.

While political observers noted a shift toward Republicans among Southern California Hispanic and Latino voters, the Bay Area remains one of the bluest regions of the country and the SF Republican Party put in a typically poor showing. Its House candidate, John Dennis, notched only 16% of the vote percent against Nancy Pelosi—three percentage points more than Trump won in 2020. 

Pelosi is widely expected to step down from Democratic leadership, but the contest to become speaker of the House is already on. Erstwhile Trump ally Rep. Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield won an important vote on Tuesday to become the Republicans’ nominee, putting to rest any rumors of a rebellion among far-right Trump loyalists

San Francisco may be largely irrelevant to Trump’s continued electoral success, but it nonetheless figures into his family. Over the weekend, Kimberly Guilfoyle, the Mission District native and ex-wife of Newsom who is now engaged to Donald Trump Jr., found herself edited out of a photo from Tiffany Trump’s wedding.

Whoever the party’s 2024 candidate may be, San Francisco’s Republican vote share will likely be small.

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Peter-Astrid Kane can be reached at [email protected]


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