It’s ‘commie vs. commie’ in the Nov. 4 Assembly race of David Chiu vs. David Campos, a rematch of the exact same candidates you chose between in this past June’s primary election. “The only distinction I can see between the two of them is that Campos is a straight-up communist, while Chiu is a situational communist,” former mayor Willie Brown wrote last Sunday in his weekly Chronicle Subway advertorial. (Brown once held this same Assembly seat for 30 years).
David Chiu and David Campos are both 44 years old, and both left-wing Democrats currently serving on the SF Board of Supervisors while vying for the same CA District 17 seat. Both are attorneys who attended Harvard Law School. Both constantly use the same "San Francisco is not for sale" motto. Both are liberals who would ostensibly vote the exact same way on nearly every single issue brought to them in their state assembly tenure. These guys ran against each other in the exact same race just five months ago, but now they're doing it all again because California.
For you as a District 17 resident, it will likely make no difference whatsoever in your Sacramento representation whether David Chiu or David Campos wins this race.
Yet their two campaigns are pummeling your home address mailboxes with millions of dollars worth of histrionic campaign mailers explaining the menace to society that the other guy poses. And both of these so-called communists have raised unprecedented amounts of money to do so. (It should be noted, for argument's sake, that Chiu's signature legislation this year was in support of regulating and legalizing AirBnB, while Campos's signature legislation was to curb Ellis Act evictions by making them much more expensive for landlords.)
According to SFist research of the Secretary of State's campaign disclosure database, Campos-Chiu has the third-highest campaign donation total of any current CA assembly race this year, with about $1.8 million raised. Chiu has raised $1.05 million, while Campos has raised more than $728,000.
For comparison purposes, less than $200,000 was raised between Tom Ammiano and Jason Clark in the 2012 race for this very same seat. Running for this seat becomes nine times more expensive when it’s communist vs. communist, apparently.
But that figure doesn't even include the outside "independent expenditure" money being pumped into the race by unions or investors like AirBnB board member Reid Hoffman. Hoffman just dumped $550,000 into something called San Franciscans to Hold David Campos accountable, which might as well be called Americans for a David Campos-free America.
This group has mailed out a rainforest's worth of campaign literature declaring Campos unfit for office because of his vote to retain Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi. Campos himself sees other motives. "It's because they don't like the way I vote on these corporate tax breaks that they know they should not be getting," Campos told KQED.
It should be noted that Campos has his own independent expenditure groups, with names like Nurses, Teachers and Working Families United to Support David Campos. Those particular “Working Families” have indulged Campos by spending nearly $250,000 on anti-David Chiu mailers and campaign research.
Chiu has constantly referenced Campos' Mirkarimi vote as unacceptable cronyism that makes Campos a bad fit for the district. That said, Chiu has also endorsed Supervisor Jane Kim, who also voted to retain Sheriff Mirkarimi.
Chiu defends this distinction. "The fact of the matter is, and David knows this, is that Supervisor Kim is not in a race where there is real competition," Chiu told KQED.
Whereas in this race, there is real competition between Davids Chiu and Campos. Campos-Chiu II goes down November 4 at your local SF precinct.
Vote however you see fit, and you can see that the ultra-liberal League of Pissed Off Voters and the former SF Bay Guardian (R.I.P.) on their Clean Slate voter guide both support Campos, with the former calling Chiu "hella catfish." The Chronicle, predictably, endorses Chiu for his "civil manner and workhorse appetite for problem solving."
Previously: San Francisco Candidates' War Chests, By The Numbers