Political Notes: LGBTQ candidates host election parties

  • by Matthew S. Bajko, Assistant Editor
  • Monday November 7, 2022
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Gay District 8 Supervisor Rafael Mandelman, left, campaigned with San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins. Both are hoping for wins Tuesday night. Photo: Courtesy Facebook
Gay District 8 Supervisor Rafael Mandelman, left, campaigned with San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins. Both are hoping for wins Tuesday night. Photo: Courtesy Facebook

Two years ago election night was a muted affair for most candidates due to the raging COVID pandemic. Many forewent hosting any public celebrations, while others opted for virtual events or small outdoor gatherings.

Not this year. With the health crisis largely under control and life back to some semblance of normalcy, campaigns around the Bay Area are throwing parties to watch returns come in Tuesday night.

The Bay Area Reporter checked in with LGBTQ candidates running for more high-profile elected offices on the November 8 ballot to find out what their plans are for after the polls close. All but two of the out county supervisor contenders are having campaign events open to the public.

In San Francisco, gay District 8 Supervisor Rafael Mandelman will be at the queer-owned arcade bar The Detour in the city's LGBTQ Castro district to celebrate his likely reelection to a second four-year term. The venue, at 2200-A Market Street, is also where the Yes on Prop L campaign will gather.

As Mandelman, who chairs the San Francisco County Transportation Authority, noted in a guest opinion piece for the B.A.R. last week renewal of the one-half cent transportation sales tax in place since 1989 funds myriad transit projects and street paving across the city. It needs two-thirds of the votes cast to pass.

"If Prop L does not pass, not only will we not have the local revenue it generates to keep our city moving, but we will miss out on billions of dollars in matching funds from the state and federal governments," wrote Mandelman.

In the hotly contested race for the District 6 supervisor seat centered in South of Market, San Francisco Democratic Party Chair Honey Mahogany is hosting her election night party at the sports bar Trademark SFC, which also happens to have arcade games. It is located at 1123 Folsom Street near Seventh Street.

Mahogany is vying to become the first transgender person and first drag queen elected to public office in San Francisco, as well as the city's first out Black supervisor. Mahogany would also be the city's first queer and first nonbinary supervisor, and would also be the first-ever trans county supervisor in California.

Gay District 6 Supervisor Matt Dorsey, the second person living with HIV to fill a vacancy on the Board of Supervisors, told the B.A.R. he is also hosting an event once the polls close at 8 p.m. but, as of Friday, had yet to announce the location. Mayor London Breed tapped Dorsey, a recovering addict, to succeed former supervisor Matt Haney, whom Mahogany had worked for at City Hall, after he departed in the spring for the state Assembly.

Monday Dorsey announced his party would be at the Folsom Street Foundry. The events venue is located at 1425 Folsom Street near 10th Street.

Gay former journalist Joel Engardio is running to oust from office District 4 Supervisor Gordon Mar, who represents the Sunset neighborhood. This is Engardio's fourth supervisor candidacy, having three times lost bids for the District 7 supervisor seat, which he was redistricted out of this year.

He told the B.A.R. he is hosting a private event for his campaign volunteers. During his 2020 race, because of COVID, Engardio invited his supporters to do a "drive-by appreciation" in their cars on election night.

San Mateo District 3 supervisor candidate Laura Parmer-Lohan, left, met with actor and climate activist Jane Fonda at Manny's in the Mission district after securing her endorsement. Photo: Courtesy Twitter  

On the Peninsula San Carlos City Councilmember Laura Parmer-Lohan, a married mom, is vying for the District 3 seat on the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors. If elected November 8, she would be the first out lesbian to serve on it.

She and Mahogany got a late campaign boost in October from actor and activist Jane Fonda, whose political action committee endorsed the two candidates. They both got to meet Fonda last week at events in San Francisco.

In a joint op-ed Parmer-Lohan and the Jane Fonda Climate PAC co-wrote, they criticized oil company interests for pumping $160,000 toward electing her opponent, Menlo Park City Councilmember Ray Mueller.

"The most disturbing part — they are doing this at a time when San Mateo County is suing big oil companies and fossil fuel companies for the devastating impact their pollution has had on our local environment. This is a blatant attempt to undermine these suits, which would ultimately cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars," they wrote.

Parmer-Lohan will be at Domenico's Winery and Osteria, 1697 Industrial Road in San Carlos Tuesday evening to await poll results.

Across the bay, butch lesbian Oakland At-Large City Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan, who is gender-nonconforming, is running to be the first LGBTQ person to serve on the Alameda County Board of Supervisors. She is seeking the open District 3 seat that includes parts of Oakland; the cities of Alameda, San Leandro, and San Lorenzo; and the Hayward Acres neighborhood.

Kaplan is eschewing an election night party and instead is planning to host a post election event next month, her campaign told the B.A.R. She and her wife, Kirthi Nath, had baby daughter this summer.

Gay Pleasant Hill City Councilmember Ken Carlson is aiming to become the first LGBTQ person to serve on the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors. He is vying for the District 4 seat.

He and Pleasant Hill City Councilmember Sue Noack, who is seeking reelection, are co-hosting an Election Night Watch and Win Party at Back Forty Texas BBQ. The restaurant is located at 100 Coggins Drive in Pleasant Hill.

Three gay men running in high-profile races will also be gathering with their campaign staff and supporters tomorrow night. Gay Santa Clara City Councilmember Anthony Becker will be watching to see if he is elected mayor of the South Bay city at an event he is co-hosting with several council candidates.

He told the B.A.R. Friday that they were trying to figure out where to hold it. The location they had booked is an outdoor venue, and with rain in the forecast, they were trying to relocate the watch party so it was indoors.

Monday Becker, along with City Councilmembers Karen Hardy and Raj Chahal, both seeking reelection, will gather at a Mountain Mike's Pizza. Starting at 7 p.m. they will be at the local chain's location at 2510 Augustine Drive in Santa Clara.

Becker would be the first LGBTQ person elected mayor of a large Bay Area city should he win the race. Becker, endorsed by the San Jose Mercury News, is in a tough ballot box fight against Mayor Lisa Gillmor.

She has painted him as in the pocket of San Francisco 49ers owner Jed York due to the millions of dollars the team has spent in support of Becker's candidacy. It is an accusation decried as inaccurate by Becker, who has criticized Gillmor's handling of the stadium deal the city entered into to lure the football team from San Francisco for costing Santa Clara taxpayers. He contends new leadership is in order at City Hall that can engage with the 49ers on working on better terms for the city.

Gay San Jose city council candidate Omar Torres Tuesday night will be at San Pedro Social. The bowling and arcade game venue plus eatery is in the city's downtown at 163 W. Santa Clara Street.

Torres is seeking San Jose's 3rd council district seat that includes downtown and nearby neighborhoods. Torres would be the first out person in 16 years to serve on the governing body for the Bay Area's largest city, only it's second gay councilmember, and its first LGBTQ person of color.

Gay Dublin City Councilmember Shawn Kumagai is running for the East Bay's open 20th Assembly District seat in southern Alameda County. If elected, he would be the first out state legislator of Japanese descent and the first to represent a wholly East Bay legislative district.

He will be watching returns come in at The Mexican restaurant and bar at 19950 Hesperian Boulevard in Hayward. Anyone interested in attending can RSVP at bit.ly/KumagaiParty

Most of the election night parties begin at 8 p.m. when the polls close. The gatherings hosted by Parmer-Lohan and Carlson both start at 7:30 p.m.

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]

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