It seemed to be the usual Democrat vs. Democrat race in San Francisco: Four candidates, all registered Democratic Party members, all running to be the next state legislator representing eastern San Francisco.
But none of them is getting the coveted state party endorsement.
The Assembly District 17 race is imminent—it’s set for Feb. 15—but over the weekend, the California Democratic Party was unable to reach a consensus on who to support, resulting in the state party taking a de facto “No Consensus” stance on the race.
On Saturday, none of the four candidates, nor the “No Endorsement” option, reached the required 60% threshold to secure a position. David Campos garnered 37 votes, “No Endorsement” raked in 42 votes and the other three candidates had zero votes.
Campos, one of the leading candidates in the race and, notably, the vice chair of the California Democratic Party, said in a statement to the Standard that he was “honored” to be the only candidate who received any votes. He said that the 37 votes he got “show that my fellow San Francisco Democrats know that our campaign best represents the values of the Democratic Party.”
Candidate Bilal Mahmood, a political newcomer with a background in business and technology, did not agree. He said he considered the no consensus result as a “win” for him.
“We are all democrats in this election, we should let the voters decide,” he said. Mahmood said that he had reached out to the delegates and campaigned for the “No Endorsement” position, saying that he believed in “equal shots” for all the Democrat candidates.
Given that Campos was the only candidate to get any votes, it is likely that the other two contenders—Matt Haney and Thea Selby—also pushed for the “No Endorsement” position to deprive Campos of the party’s endorsement, which comes with funding to send out campaign flyers with the endorsed candidate’s information.
Selby, a current elected board member of the City College of San Francisco, said it’s “unnecessary” for the state party to endorse in the primary.
“It is always beneficial not to weigh in the primary,” Selby said. “You vote your heart, not the most-liked candidate by the party.”
Haney, current supervisor of San Francisco District 6, couldn’t be reached for comment before press deadline. He tweeted Saturday night announcing the no endorsement news and said “thank you to all the delegates who voted in the endorsement process.”Han Li can be reached at [email protected].