Political Notebook: D8 supervisor race a two-man affair, for now
by Matthew S. Bajko
The race to replace District 8 Supervisor Bevan Dufty , who is termed out of office next year, is a two-man affair, for now, with the entrance this week of deputy city attorney Scott Wiener as an officially declared candidate.
The openly gay Wiener, 39, began filing the required paperwork to set up his campaign apparatus with city agencies and state officials after the Fourth of July holiday, first stopping off at the city's Ethics Commission early Tuesday, July 7 to drop off his candidate intention statement.
A dozen supporters who either live or work in the district, which covers the more moderate neighborhoods of the Castro, Noe Valley, Diamond Heights and Glen Park, joined him for the start of what Wiener described as both "an adventure" and a "long and challenging campaign."
"We are going to work hard and outwork the other candidates," said Wiener, who graduated from Duke University and Harvard Law School. "It is going to be an intense campaign ... and a roller coaster ride, but we are going to win it."
His entrance in the race was not without a bit of confusion on the candidate's part. Asked why he was not at City Hall filing paperwork with the city's Elections Department, which keeps track of who is running in which races, Wiener said it was his understanding he only needed to file paperwork with ethics staff.
"The Ethics Commission is now the filing agency in San Francisco," explained Wiener, adding that in San Francisco "you don't file anything with elections."
But a check of the Ethics Commission's Web site clearly details for candidates – under a section headlined "What You Need To Get Started" – how to file more than a dozen forms needed to set up a campaign. The second form listed is a "Declaration of Intent to Solicit and Accept Contributions" with instructions to file "an original and a copy with the Department of Elections."
Asked later in the day by the Bay Area Reporter about the filing requirements, Wiener e-mailed to say that was not what a campaign lawyer and accountant helping him with his race had informed him, but that "if elections expects a copy, then a copy it will get."
By 1:18 p.m. Wiener had also filed the other paperwork and chalked up the incident to "a miscommunication" and his being more focused on assuring he had given state officials the right filings so he could begin raising funds.
Wiener is the second person to make official his long-talked about intentions to run for the Castro seat. Attorney Rafael Mandelman , 35, who is also gay, filed to run June 10 in the 2010 election, and days later, he held his official campaign kick-off event at a Castro wine bar.
Also expected to enter the race are two out lesbians: assistant district attorney Rebecca Prozan and Laura Spanjian, a staffer with the city's Public Utilities Commission. Spanjian plans to officially file later this month, while Prozan would only say in an e-mail that "district residents encourage me to run on a daily basis" as she continues "to dialogue with community leaders, friends, neighbors, opinion leaders, and residents on how to improve San Francisco for all."
The race has been unofficially waged by the four politicos practically from the moment Dufty was re-elected to a second term in 2006. Wiener, in fact, disclosed to the B.A.R. in March that he had lined up Mayor Gavin Newsom's endorsement last November. This week, he said he had also secured the backing of District 7 Supervisor Sean Elsbernd.
Asked why he decided to file 16 months before District 8 voters go to the polls, Wiener pointed to the strength of his opponents and the need to mount a "voter-to-voter, door-to-door, block-by-block" campaign.
"This is going to be a very intense, grassroots race. I have three very talented and strong opponents. They are making me work hard and will continue to make me work hard and be a better candidate," he said.
The Reverend Tommy Dillon, 40, the rector at St. Aidan's Episcopal Church just south of the Diamond Heights Shopping Center, joined Wiener at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday as he handed in his campaign paperwork to ethics staff. He said Wiener, whom he considers a friend, is the best person to be supervisor.
"He is very active in our neighborhood. I met him when he was working at the Safeway center to sign up people to vote. And he has toured our food pantry and attended neighborhood meetings at our church," said the openly gay Dillon, who lives outside District 8 in Twin Peaks. "It is exciting to see someone who wants to meet people face-to-face in the community."
Colleague Meredith Osborn, 29, a deputy district attorney who lives in District 8's Liberty Hill Historic District, also was on hand to show her support.
"I think Scott is a fantastic candidate. He has contributed an incredible amount to District 8 and the city already," said Osborn, a straight woman who was appointed by former city supervisor, now state Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) to the city's youth commission.
Wiener is a past co-chair of several LGBT groups, including the board of the LGBT Community Center and the Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club, as are Prozan and Spanjian. Several of the club's current board members joined Wiener this week.
He currently serves as president of the Eureka Valley Promotion Association, a group for Castro residents, and is a board member of Castro Community on Patrol. He serves on the national board of directors of the Human Rights Campaign and is an elected member of the Democratic County Central Committee, on which he formerly served as chair of the local Democratic Party until last summer, when progressives launched a coordinated campaign to take over the DCCC and installed former Supervisor Aaron Peskin as chair of the body.
To see an interview with Wiener about entering the race, visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sf8TKMyKLas .
Gov sets date for congressional race
Now that Congresswoman Ellen Tauscher (D-Walnut Creek) has been confirmed for an Obama administration post and resigned her East Bay seat, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has called a special election for November 3 to fill the vacancy in the state's 10th Congressional District.
The primary election will be held September 1, on which ballot will appear all candidates regardless of their party affiliation. The top Republican and Democratic vote-getters, plus the nonpartisan candidates, will advance to the general election unless one candidate receives 50 percent plus one vote in the primary. If that occurs, a winner will be declared and the general election will be canceled.
The seat is centered in Contra Costa County and includes portions of Alameda, Solano, and Sacramento counties. Two gay men from Fairfield are in the running: independent candidate Gino VanGundy , and Iraq war vet Anthony Woods , who is among several Democratic candidates.
Woods, who has received national attention for his race, raised more than $100,000, according to campaign finance reports filed at the end of June. He also had racked up 800 donors, claiming in a release it was twice the size of the donors the leading candidate in the race, Lieutenant Governor John Garamendi, reported having in his disclosure forms.
"This has been a genuine grassroots effort," stated Woods in a release this week. "We're offering everyday people ... the chance to join a campaign that understands what it's like to walk in their shoes – and the response has been overwhelming."
Garamendi, however, reported raising three times as much as Woods for his campaign war chest and is considered the candidate to beat.
"Since early June, dozens of volunteers have walked throughout the district and knocked on thousands of doors; their commitment and energy is the driving force of our campaign," stated Garamendi. "With over $300,000 raised, our growing grassroots efforts will be well-fed and well-supported."
VanGundy did not release any fundraising information last week.
Migden's wild ride ends
The state has agreed to pay $335,000 to settle a lawsuit with a woman who was rear-ended in 2007 by former state Senator Carole Migden (D-San Francisco.) The accident led the lesbian lawmaker to reveal she has leukemia and helped torpedo Migden's re-election bid last year.
Ellen Butawan, 33, the driver of the vehicle hit by Migden, suffered minor injuries in the accident on Highway 99 in Fairfield. The state attorney general's office represented Migden because the incident occurred while she was employed by the state.
Migden had pleaded no contest to a charge of reckless driving, paid a $710 fine and was on two years of court probation. She is said to be mulling a return to political office by running for city supervisor in District 10, where she is reportedly house hunting.
Web Extra: For more queer political news, be sure to check http://www.ebar.com Monday mornings around 10 a.m. for Political Notes, the notebook's online companion.
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Got a tip on LGBT politics? Call Matthew S. Bajko at (415) 861-5019 or e-mail mailto:.