Political Notebook: SF Dem Party endorses Mandelman, Mahogany for supervisor

  • by Matthew S. Bajko, Assistant Editor
  • Thursday July 28, 2022
Share this Post:
Supervisor Rafael Mandelman, left, won the local Democratic Party's endorsement, while Supervisor Matt Dorsey saw the party back its chair, Honey Mahogany, in their race. District 4 candidate Joel Engardio was snubbed by the party. Photos: Dorsey, Jane Philomen Cleland; Mandelman, Mahogany, Engardio courtesy the candidates
Supervisor Rafael Mandelman, left, won the local Democratic Party's endorsement, while Supervisor Matt Dorsey saw the party back its chair, Honey Mahogany, in their race. District 4 candidate Joel Engardio was snubbed by the party. Photos: Dorsey, Jane Philomen Cleland; Mandelman, Mahogany, Engardio courtesy the candidates

Of the five LGBTQ San Francisco supervisor candidates on the November ballot, two received sole endorsements from the local Democratic Party. Gay District 8 Supervisor Rafael Mandelman and Honey Mahogany, a queer leader and drag queen who is seeking the District 6 seat, will now be featured on the party's mailers and endorsement cards.

Gay District 6 Supervisor Matt Dorsey, appointed in May to fill a vacancy, did receive six votes from members of the San Francisco Democratic County Central Committee during the July 27 endorsement vote. But it was far short of the votes Dorsey needed to pick up a second place endorsement. As under the city's ranked-choice voting system, voters are able to rank the candidates on their ballot in the order they support them.

The outcome was hardly a surprise, since Mahogany is an elected member of the DCCC and has served as the local Democratic Party chair since 2021. They received 22 votes to secure the party's backing of their candidacy to become the first transgender and nonbinary supervisor in the city, as well as the first LGBTQ Black member of the Board of Supervisors.

Mahogany had been chief of staff to former District 6 supervisor Matt Haney and had sought to be named his successor after Haney was elected to the state Assembly last spring. But Mayor London Breed chose Dorsey, who is living with HIV, to serve out Haney's term through the end of the year.

He is now vying against Mahogany for a full four-year term representing the city's South of Market, Mission Bay, and Treasure Island neighborhoods. Also on the ballot are Black transgender advocate Ms. Billie Cooper and Black labor leader Cherelle Jackson.

In a tweet posted July 28, Mahogany thanked their DCCC colleagues for their support using the hashtag #superhoney. In a texted reply Thursday to the B.A.R., Mahogany noted that as a native San Franciscan who has long volunteered for the local Democratic Party, having its endorsement "is really meaningful" to them.

"I was elected chair of the party last year and I've been using my skills learned from 20 years as a social worker to try and calm down the divisive rhetoric, and try and bring Democrats together around the issues most important to San Franciscans," wrote Mahogany. "This work hasn't been easy, but it's absolutely necessary to get things done. I'm honored to have received broad support last night and to have earned the respect and endorsement of my colleagues."

A few DCCC members expressed their disappointment in not hearing directly from Dorsey or the other candidates ahead of the vote.

"I am very disappointed other candidates haven't reached out to participate in this process or at least contact myself directly about this race," said DCCC first vice-chair Leah LaCroix, adding that she was "excited to support Honey. Our endorsement is a big deal."

Dorsey had filled out the local party's candidate questionnaire and took part in its interview process. But he told the B.A.R. he knew he wasn't going to be endorsed by the DCCC so didn't bother calling every single member on it. He had to quarantine earlier in July after contracting COVID and had prioritized his work on the board, such as passing the new two-year city budget that Breed signed July 27.

"I have been part of Democratic politics for long enough to be able to count. As someone who served on the Democratic County Central Committee, I knew the endorsement wasn't there for me," Dorsey told the B.A.R., adding that he has been making "some individual calls" and working on questionnaires sent out by various groups that make endorsements. "Even if I am not going to get an endorsement, I think it is important to honor the process."

Mandelman currently serves as an elected DCCC member, so his being endorsed by the local Democratic Party was also not much of a surprise. He received 28 votes to secure the sole endorsement and is seen as the clear frontrunner in his contest for the seat that now spans from Cole Valley over Twin Peaks to the LGBTQ Castro district and Glen Park.

"Thanks everybody," Mandelman said after the DCCC endorsed him.

As he seeks a second and final term on the board, Mandelman is running against political newcomer Kate Stoia, a lawyer who lives in Noe Valley with her husband, their two biological children, and a teenage foster son. As a straight candidate seeking what has been viewed for decades as the "gay seat" on the board, Stoia is facing strong headwinds in the race.

She acknowledged as much in an interview with the B.A.R. But she also has strong ties to the LGBTQ community, including her late gay father and his partner who has been a stepparent to her and grandfather to her children, as detailed in the Political Notebook in the July 28 issue of the B.A.R.

In the other supervisor race with an out candidate, the DCCC backed District 4 Supervisor Gordon Mar's bid for a second term. Also an elected member of the local party's oversight committee, Mar tweeted out his thanks to his colleagues for their support.

"At a time when Democratic values are under attack across the country, and as a lifelong Democrat and leader of our local Democratic Party, I will continue to fight for climate action, the right to choose, housing for all, and social and economic justice," wrote Mar, who was recently subjected to racist and homophobic attacks on fliers posted in his Sunset-based district.

Running against Mar is Leanna Louie, who works to address various issues in the city's Chinatown neighborhood, and gay married former journalist Joel Engardio. This is Engardio's fourth bid for supervisor, as he previously sought the District 7 supervisor seat but was redistricted this year into District 4.

In the other even-numbered supervisor races on the fall ballot, incumbents District 2 Supervisor Catherine Stefani and District 10 Supervisor Shamann Walton, who is board president, received the DCCC's sole backing. Stefani is unopposed in her Marina-based district, while Walton is facing a challenge from educator and engineer Brian Sam Adam to represent the city's southeastern bayside neighborhoods.

The DCCC also sole endorsed Public Defender Mano Raju's re-election bid. Seeking to oust him from office is assistant district attorney and former deputy public defender Rebecca Young.

San Francisco Assessor-Recorder Joaquín Torres also received the local party's endorsement Wednesday. He is running unopposed.

The DCCC will vote in August on endorsing in the other fall races for school and city college board seats, as well as on local ballot measures.

To see its current list of endorsements for the November 8 general election, visit its website.

The Harvey Milk and Alice B. Toklas LGBTQ Democratic Clubs are cohosting with the Rose Pak Democratic Club a debate with all four of the District 6 supervisor candidates at 4 p.m. Saturday, August 6, at the San Francisco Public Library's Koret Auditorium in the main branch in the city's Civic Center. To RSVP for updates, visit the event Facebook page .

Web Extra: For more queer political news, be sure to check http://www.ebar.com Monday mornings for Political Notes, the notebook's online companion.

Keep abreast of the latest LGBTQ political news by following the Political Notebook on Twitter @ http://twitter.com/politicalnotes.

Got a tip on LGBTQ politics? Call Matthew S. Bajko at (415) 829-8836 or e-mail [email protected].

Help keep the Bay Area Reporter going in these tough times. To support local, independent, LGBTQ journalism, consider becoming a BAR member.