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Political Notebook: Primary may decide fall SF D8 supervisor race

by Matthew S. Bajko

District 8 candidates Rafael Mandelman, left, and Supervisor Jeff Sheehy spoke at a candidate forum last fall. Photo: Rick Gerharter
District 8 candidates Rafael Mandelman, left, and Supervisor Jeff Sheehy spoke at a candidate forum last fall. Photo: Rick Gerharter  

Should next week's special election for the District 8 seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors be won in a landslide, it could also decide the outcome of the November race for a full four-year term representing the city's gay Castro district as well as Noe Valley, Diamond Heights, and Glen Park.

In the June 5 primary race Supervisor Jeff Sheehy, a gay married father who was appointed in 2017 by the late mayor Ed Lee to the vacant seat, is running against gay attorney Rafael Mandelman, a member of the City College of San Francisco Board of Trustees. They are seeking to serve out the remainder of former supervisor Scott Wiener's term through early January. Wiener resigned in late 2016 after being elected to the state Senate.

In editorial board meetings with the Bay Area Reporter earlier this spring, both candidates said they would look at the primary race results to determine if they would continue to campaign through the fall election. If either wins by double digits next week, then the losing candidate will face questions about the viability of their candidacy going forward.

"It depends on what the election outcome looks like," said Mandelman.

He declined to say what percentage of a loss would prompt him to end his bid. But "if it is close," Mandelman said he would "definitely" stay in the race. He lost to Wiener in the 2010 race for the supervisor seat but is "cautiously optimistic" of winning this time.

"I really want to win in June," said Mandelman.

Sheehy, who is seeking to become the first known HIV-positive person to be elected supervisor in the city, also said he would re-examine his election plans for the fall if he loses next week to Mandelman. But if the margin of victory is small, Sheehy is likely to remain in the race.

"I'll see what my options are and see what is happening," said Sheehy.

Considered part of the board's current 6-5 moderate majority, Sheehy will be under pressure to quickly decide. If he does drop out, another moderate candidate would only have until June 12 to file for the November election.

Such a scenario may become moot, as Sheehy predicted he would survive the primary race.

"I know I am going to win because people come up to me and tell me they like what I am doing," he said.

Lesbian Oakland councilwoman signals mayoral bid
At last Friday night's Alameda Labor Council's Unionist of the Year Dinner, lesbian Oakland at-large City Councilwoman Rebecca Kaplan was seen handing out stickers that read "Kaplan For Mayor For Oakland."

The next day, under the "News" section on the website featured on the stickers - http://www.KaplanForOakland.org - appeared a post linking to an opinion piece encouraging Kaplan to run for mayor written by former Assemblyman Sandré Swanson (D-Oakland) that was published May 5 by the Oakland Post.

By Sunday a local watcher of politics in the East Bay city had posted a video claiming that he had heard from another mayoral candidate that Kaplan had been making phone calls to inform people of her decision to enter the race.

A check of state campaign filings shows that Kaplan has created a 2018 mayoral account, though it has yet to report raising any money. It would mark the third time she has sought to become Oakland's mayor, having lost bids in 2014 and in 2010.

In response to the B.A.R.'s call for comment, Kaplan emailed Tuesday that she was in council meetings all day and unable to talk by phone. She did not respond to a follow-up email and call asking if she is running for mayor this fall by press time.

Mayor Libby Schaaf has already filed to run for re-election and has been rolling out endorsements from Bay Area Democratic leaders. California Senators Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris have both endorsed her, as have Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom and state Controller Betty Yee.

Half a dozen people have already filed or indicated they plan to run against Schaaf in the November election. Candidates have until August 10 to file.

Harris to keynote Alice Pride breakfast
Over the Memorial Day weekend the Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club announced that Senator Kamala Harris (D-California) will be the keynote speaker at its annual Pride breakfast in June.

The yearly event takes place early in the morning prior to San Francisco's Pride parade, which is held the last Sunday in June. The 2018 Pride parade is set to take place Sunday, June 24.

The Alice breakfast is the moderate political club's main fundraiser. This year's will be dedicated to former police commission president Julius Turman, a past Alice club co-chair who died earlier this month. The club will also present its Jim Foster Lifetime Achievement Award to Kate Kendell, the outgoing executive director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights.

It will start at 8 a.m. that day and be held at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco, 5 Embarcadero Center. Tickets for non-members of Alice cost $125 ($100 for members) and can be purchased online at http://www.alicebtoklas.org/events/breakfast/.

Web Extra: For more queer political news, be sure to check http://www.ebar.com Monday mornings at noon for Political Notes, the notebook's online companion. The column will return Monday, June 4.
Keep abreast of the latest LGBT political news by following the Political Notebook on Twitter @ http://twitter.com/politicalnotes .
Got a tip on LGBT politics? Call Matthew S. Bajko at (415) 829-8836 or e-mail m.bajko@ebar.com.

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