BREAKING: Leno remains in second in SF mayor race

by Matthew S. Bajko

Gay mayoral candidate Mark Leno remains stuck in second place.
Gay mayoral candidate Mark Leno remains stuck in second place.  

Gay mayoral candidate Mark Leno remains stuck in second place, according to the latest returns posted late Monday afternoon.

He stands at 49.62 percent of the vote after nine rounds under the city's ranked-choice voting system. Board President London Breed, who represents District 5, continues to hold on to first place with 50.38 percent of the vote.

Her lead is now at 1,601 votes, according to the unofficial count. It is a slight increase from the 1,580-vote edge Breed had as of Sunday night.

Up until Saturday, Leno had been the top finisher in the race with Breed trailing behind him in second place. But when additional votes were tabulated Saturday afternoon, Breed had overtaken Leno for first place.

Her lead has continued to grow ever since, calling into question Leno's chances of becoming San Francisco's first out LGBT mayor. Should the current results stand, Breed would become the city's first elected African-American female mayor.

Because none of the eight mayoral candidates received a majority of the votes in the first round, the third and second place votes of the candidates with the least number one votes are tabulated until a winner emerges with 50 percent plus one of the vote.

Since Tuesday Breed had steadily gained on Leno as elections officials tabulated more ballots. They have been updating the tally daily at 4 p.m., and as of Sunday night, still had 25,000 ballots to count.

Today's new results are from 9,000 additional ballots. The elections department still has to process more than 17,000 ballots.

"We await the final results to see if our citywide success will translate into an eventual victory," wrote Breed in a note to her supporters Monday evening. "The important thing for now is that every ballot be counted. The hardworking staff at the Department of Elections are working tirelessly to process a historic number of ballots."

District 6 Supervisor Jane Kim has remained in third place with 27 percent of the vote. She had teamed up with Leno to urge their supporters to vote for the other one as their number two choice in the race. And until the weekend, it had looked like the strategy was working to the benefit of Leno.

Kim, in fact, had all but conceded the race to Leno on Wednesday, stating in an emailed statement that, "it looks very likely that Mark Leno will be elected San Francisco's next mayor."

But it is increasingly unclear if that will be the result once elections officials finish tabulating the remaining ballots in the coming days.

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