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Election 2018: Mandelman takes D8 supe seat in blowout

by Matthew S. Bajko

Rafael Mandelman, center, thanked supporters at his Election Night party Tuesday at Cafe Du Nord. Photo: Rick Gerharter
Rafael Mandelman, center, thanked supporters at his Election Night party Tuesday at Cafe Du Nord. Photo: Rick Gerharter  

Gay attorney Rafael Mandelman trounced gay District 8 Supervisor Jeff Sheehy in the special election on Tuesday's ballot to serve in the seat through the end of the year. It all but ensures that Mandelman will win a full four-year term in November.

And it means the progressives will once again have a 6-5 majority on the board when Mandelman is sworn into office sometime in early July. Sheehy had been aligned with the moderates since joining the board in early 2017.

A gay married father and longtime AIDS activist, Sheehy was appointed to the vacant supervisor seat by the late mayor Ed Lee, making him the first known HIV-positive person to serve on the board. Gay former supervisor Scott Wiener, who endorsed Sheehy in Tuesday's election, had resigned in late 2016 after being elected to the state Senate.

Sheehy and Mandelman were running to serve out Wiener's term through early January. The two had also launched campaigns to run in November to serve as District 8 supervisor through 2022.

But due to Mandelman garnering 60 percent of the vote compared to Sheehy's 37.55 percent, according to the unofficial returns Wednesday, Sheehy now faces questions on the viability of his remaining a candidate in the fall race. With the deadline for candidates to file Tuesday, June 12, Sheehy is expected to announce in the coming days if he will drop out or compete for the seat.

He declined to take questions from the Bay Area Reporter at his Election Night party in the recently opened Hamburger Mary's. His campaign consultant, Ben Tevelin, said he was unsure when Sheehy would make his decision known.

"It is a conversation he will have with his family," said Tevelin.

At his election night party at Cafe Du Nord, Mandelman said voters in the district, which includes the gay Castro neighborhood as well as Noe Valley, Diamond Heights, and Glen Park, are "tired of the squabbling at City Hall" and want to see the city's leaders work together to address issues such as homelessness and affordable housing.

"I am eager to go into City Hall and work with whoever our next mayor is and the 10 other supervisors on the board," said Mandelman, a member of the City College of San Francisco Board of Trustees.

Despite his overwhelming victory Tuesday, Mandelman told the B.A.R. he expects to face a moderate challenger in November, whether it is Sheehy or another candidate.

"We are planning to have an opponent," said Mandelman, noting that he has already raised $200,000 for the fall campaign.

Lesbian headed to San Diego supe runoff
Lesbian former San Diego District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis appears headed to a fall runoff for a county Board of Supervisors seat since no candidate won 50 percent of the vote Tuesday. Should she be elected to the board's District 4 seat, Dumanis would be the only LGBT person serving on it and one of the highest-ranking out Republican elected officials in California.

The district covers nearly all of San Diego, including the gay neighborhood of Hillcrest, the beach community of La Jolla, and inland areas from Kearny Mesa south to Encanto. Dumanis would be the second openly LGBT person elected to the county board and the first lesbian to serve on it. Dave Roberts, a gay man and Democrat, was the first out San Diego County supervisor but lost his re-election bid in 2016.

Dumanis was in second place Wednesday morning with 27.52 percent of the vote. In first place was former state assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, who had close to 29 percent of the vote. The two also ran against each other in the 2012 San Diego mayor's race, which they both lost.

Now a registered Democrat, Fletcher in recent weeks had faced questions about his being a Republican with an anti-gay voting record when he served in the state Legislature. Questioned about his past stances by the San Diego Union Tribune's editorial board, Fletcher said he had changed his views on a number of issues since leaving the Republican Party.

The attacks against his record appeared to be aimed at boosting support for the other Democrats in the race in order to provide an advantage to Dumanis, as she is the only Republican on the ballot. It seems to have worked, as Democratic former assemblywoman Lori Saldana was in third place with nearly 22 percent of the vote.

In another San Diego County race, David Myers, a commander with the San Diego County Sheriff's Department, where he has worked for 32 years, lost his bid to oust his boss, Sheriff Bill Gore, from office. Gore won a third term Tuesday with nearly 54 percent of the vote, while Myers took second with 43 percent, ending his chance of being the first out elected sheriff in California.

In Los Angeles County, lesbian Supervisor Sheila Kuehl easily won a second term representing the board's District 3 with 74 percent of the vote.

Contact the reporter at m.bajko@ebar.com.

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