Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 3 / 18 January 2018

Yee, Ma win hard fought primary battles


Fiona Ma won her Assembly primary. Photo: Jane Philomen Cleland
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Asian American candidates flexed their political muscles Tuesday, June 6, capturing Senate and Assembly victories in San Francisco's western districts in expensive Democratic primary battles marred by nastiness and personal attacks, as well as a San Francisco Superior Court seat in a relatively quiet judicial race.

In the District 8 Senate race, former San Francisco supervisor and current state Assemblyman Leland Yee vanquished his opponents, former San Mateo County Supervisor Mike Nevin and former state Senator Lou Papan, garnering 49.7 percent of the vote according to the Secretary of State's office Wednesday morning. Yee received 37,637 votes, with Nevin placing second with 27,704 votes and Papan trailing in third place with 10,447 votes.

If elected in November as expected, Yee will become the first Chinese American to serve in the state Senate. In an phone interview Wednesday, he credited his success to his supporters and called his victory a win for all communities who face discrimination.

"Let me just say relative to the Chinese American community, in the 157-year history of the state Senate, we have never had a Chinese American elected to the state Senate and that is wrong. A barrier that has not been broken for 157 years finally, last night, that barrier was broken," said Yee. "It is a proud moment for my community and all communities. The kinds of discrimination the LGBT community has lived through is exactly the same type of discrimination my community has had to face. It is a historic victory for everyone in the Bay Area."

San Francisco Supervisor Fiona Ma defeated Janet Reilly, a Golden Gate Bridge District board member, in their fight for Yee's District 12 Assembly seat in the primary. Ma handily won the race with 24,179 votes, nearly 60 percent, compared to Reilly's 16,373 votes or 40 percent, unofficial returns showed.

Yee and Ma will face-off against Republican opponents in the November election but both are expected to sail to victory in the heavily Democratic districts. District 13 Assemblyman Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) ran unopposed Tuesday and also is expected to win his bid for a third term in the fall.

Lillian Sing easily beat her opponent, attorney Eric Safire, in her effort to win Seat 8 on the San Francisco Superior Court. Sing, a former judge who resigned

Leland Yee won his state Senate primary. Photo: Rick Gerharter
to run unsuccessfully for supervisor, netted 67.7 percent of the vote or 59,771 votes compared to Safire's 31.8 percent of the vote or 28,119 votes, unofficial returns showed.

Voters rejected three of four local propositions on Tuesday's ballot, according to preliminary returns, with only Measure B, the eviction disclosure ordinance, receiving enough votes (54,492) to pass. The measure requires landlords to disclose to potential homebuyers if they have evicted tenants from the properties they are selling. Measure A, which would have required the city to fund several homicide prevention measures, and Measure C, which would have given the Board of Supervisors more control over the county's transportation authority both went down to defeat. And Measure D, the controversial plan to create the Lagunda Honda Hospital District and restrict what type of patients the city could send to the nursing home facility, was soundly rejected by 73 percent of voters.

In the central committee races queer candidates grabbed a majority of seats in the 13th Assembly District's Democratic County Central Committee. Incumbents David Campos, Leslie Rachel Katz, Scott Wiener, Holli Thier, Michael Goldstein, Robert Haaland, and Bill Barnes all will return to the committee. Out candidates Laura Spanjian (who was appointed to a vacancy earlier this year) and Rafael Mandelman (who had served as a proxy) will join them. Filling out the rest of the 12 seats are Susan Bierman, Gerry Crowley, and Joe Julian.

In the 12th Assembly District Democratic County Central Committee, out incumbents Arlo Hale Smith and Connie O'Connor easily won re-election.

Openly gay Republican Christopher Bowman easily won re-election to his party's county central committee in the 13th Assembly District.

Due to less than nine candidates running for the Green Party Council County Central Committee, candidates Nancy Lewis and Marc Salomon automatically won seats on the committee.

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