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Political Notebook: Gay D8 supe candidates report fundraising hauls

by Matthew S. Bajko

Supervisor candidate Rafael Mandelman. Photo: Rick<br>Gerharter
Supervisor candidate Rafael Mandelman. Photo: Rick

In the race for the District 8 seat on San Francisco's Board of Supervisors, Jeff Sheehy has proved to be a deft fundraiser as he runs to maintain his supervisorial appointment. His opponent, attorney Rafael Mandelman, has also shown strength in raising money for the race but has also spent far more on his campaign to date.

Because Sheehy, a gay married father and the board's first HIV-positive member, was named by Mayor Ed Lee in January to fill the board vacancy, he needs to run in next June's primary to serve out the remainder of the term through 2018. He then must run next November for a full four-year term on the board, on which he is currently the only LGBT person serving.

Between the first of the year and June 30, Sheehy had raised $105,413.91 for his campaign on the June primary ballot, according to his campaign financial disclosure forms submitted to the city's ethics department Monday, July 31. He reported spending $28,519.33, leaving him with $90,945.65 in cash on hand.

Mandelman, who is also gay and serves on the City College of San Francisco board, raised a total of $107,665 to date for his two campaign accounts, according to his filings. He netted $88,790 for his June 2018 committee and $18,875 for his November 2018 committee. (Donors can donate a maximum of $500 to each of the campaign accounts.)

But he reported spending $39,910.69 from his June account, leaving him with $48,879.19 in cash on hand, or a little more than half of what he has raised so far for the special election. He also spent $3,354.41 from his November account.

Mandelman, who officially kicked off his campaign in June, told the Bay Area Reporter he was pleased with his fundraising take so far, saying it demonstrates he is a viable candidate for the seat. It is his second bid to be elected the District 8 supervisor, having lost to Scott Wiener , now a state senator, in 2010.

"I feel good. This is just the beginning, but we have to demonstrate we are going to raise enough money to run strong campaigns in both June and November," said Mandelman, 43, who grew up in San Francisco and is an 18-year resident of the district, which includes the gay Castro neighborhood as well as Noe Valley, Diamond Heights, and Glen Park.

Sheehy has yet to begin raising money for his November campaign, nor has he held an official campaign kick-off for the June race. He has been attending small fundraisers hosted by his supporters, such as the mayor, and surpassed his goal of raising at least $100,000 by the close of the reporting period.

Traveling with his family this week in England, Sheehy sent a statement to the B.A.R.

Supervisor Jeff Sheehy. Photo: Rick Gerharter

"I'm very pleased with our fundraising and thankful for the support I've received from so many San Franciscans," stated Sheehy, 60, who has lived in the district for 18 years with his husband, Bill Berry , first in Noe Valley and then in Glen Park, where they bought a home in 2004 and are raising their 12-year-old daughter, Michelle Berry. "Right now, I'm focused on the big issues in District 8 â€" building affordable housing, helping homeless youth get off the street, and finding ways to pay public school teachers more so they can afford to teach here."

Sheehy plans to seek public financing for his campaign, meaning he intends to adhere to the $250,000 spending limit doing so requires, although it will likely be lifted due to money spent on the race by outside groups.

"We're being careful with our resources so we can wage a vigorous campaign and talk to every neighborhood," stated Sheehy. "We've picked up strong momentum in a very short amount of time. And we're just getting started."

Mandelman also plans to seek public financing for his campaign. With Sheehy having the support of the mayor in raising funds, he said he was "pretty proud" to see he was "neck and neck with him" in how much the two have raised to date.

"He has gotten significant fundraising help from the mayor," said Mandelman, whose campaign issued a statement saying that Sheehy's filing showed 37 percent of his donations, or $38,430, came from donors who also have contributed to the mayor.

"I know the mayor has been leaning heavily on developers and folks with business with the city to contribute to my opponent's campaign," Mandelman told the B.A.R. "So we expected he would raise a significant amount of money and he has."

Sheehy's campaign pointed out that the majority of his funding came not from people aligned with Lee but from physicians at UCSF, where he used to work as a spokesman for its AIDS Research Institute, and LGBT leaders as well his family's neighbors, friends, and relatives.

Also reporting his campaign fundraising total for the first half of 2017 was gay former state Senator Mark Leno , so far the most high-profile candidate to pull papers for the 2019 mayoral race. He disclosed raising $166,396.98 as of June 30 since declaring his candidacy in May.

Leno, who is vying to succeed Lee, who will be termed out of office, and become the city's first out mayor, spent $22,520.31 so far on his race. He ended the reporting period with a balance of $155,185.35 in his campaign account.

Out East Bay Assembly candidates trounced in money race

Two of the out candidates seeking an open East Bay Assembly seat were trounced by one of their straight opponents in terms of the money they have raised so far. They also fell short of the amount raised by the other straight candidate in the race for the 15th Assembly District seat.

Former Obama campaign aide and White House staffer Buffy Wicks raised $209,314.80 and reported spending just $14,257.41 so far on her bid. Thus, the Oakland resident had $202,910.57 in cash on hand.

In a statement released weeks ahead of the filing deadline, Wicks' campaign boasted she had netted all of her 600-plus contributions in just 32 days, having opened her campaign committee on May 30.

"I'm so humbled by the hundreds of Californians and friends across the country who believed in my candidacy and propelled us to such a strong start," Wicks stated. "These early resources will help me build our Assembly campaign the only way I know how: from the grassroots up."

The next highest campaign haul was reported by Oakland City Councilman Dan Kalb, who was endorsed this week by Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf. He raised $71,570 and reported spending just $3,338.13.

The two out candidates who submitted financial disclosure forms to the secretary of state this week, lesbian Richmond City Councilwoman Jovanka Beckles and bisexual East Bay Municipal Utility District board member Andy Katz, raised nearly the same amount for their bids.

Katz, a Berkeley resident who dropped out of the 2014 race for the Assembly seat due to a lack of financial support and endorsements from community groups and local leaders, netted $50,024.43 in donations and reported spending nothing so far of the total.

Beckles, who is serving as her city's vice mayor, raised $49,549.14 and spent $17,687.69, leaving her with $35,521.36 in her campaign account. In a statement, her campaign touted that nearly three in four of her donors were from within the district.

"While other AD15 candidates raise thousands of dollars from wealthy donors from outside the district and the state, the average donation to Jovanka's campaign was $281," stated her campaign.

The third out candidate to enter the race, lesbian Berkeley school board member Judy Appel, did so in July after the end of the first reporting period. The next campaign contribution reports covering all of 2017 will be filed in late January.

The Assembly district includes the cities of Albany, Berkeley, El Cerrito, El Sobrante, Emeryville, Hercules, Kensington, Piedmont, Pinole, Richmond, San Pablo, Tara Hills, and a portion of Oakland. The incumbent, Assemblyman Tony Thurmond (D-Richmond), is running to be the state's superintendent of public instruction after serving two two-year terms in the Legislature.

The top two vote-getters in the June 2018 primary will advance to the November general election. Should one of the out candidates win the Assembly seat, they would be the first LGBT state legislator from the East Bay.


Web Extra: For more queer political news, be sure to check Monday mornings at noon for Political Notes, the notebook's online companion. This week's column reported on the four candidates Equality California endorsed in the race for an open Assembly seat in Los Angeles.

Keep abreast of the latest LGBT political news by following the Political Notebook on Twitter @

Got a tip on LGBT politics? Call Matthew S. Bajko at (415) 829-8836 or e-mail mailto:.



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