It’s an old rule of politics that “endorsements don’t matter." But the old rules are getting served some new San Francisco realness by an emerging constituency of unexpected political power brokers — the drag queen community. You don’t often see candidates for office flaunting endorsements from high-profile drag queens, but in recent days of the the Jane Kim-Scott Wiener race for Mark Leno’s soon to be vacated State Senate seat, already the most expensive D11 state senate race in history (herstory?), we have seen Sup. Kim receive a public drag makeover, Sup. Wiener release a drag queen campaign video that’s gotten him in a hot mess with Sony, and both candidates racking up as much drag queen support as they possibly can.
Condragulations are in order to Sup. Wiener for winning the endorsements of Carnie Asada, Au Jus and Miz Palou (all of whom appear in his “Firework” parody video), plus Donna Sachet, Saybeline, Billy Hernandez, Khmera Rouge, BeBe Sweetbriar, and Pat N Leather. Meanwhile, Sup. Kim is padding her resume with endorsements from Juanita MORE!, GlamaMore, Honey Mahogany, and VivvyAnne Forevermore.
SFist reached out to Sup. Kim's State Senate campaign manager (and House of MORE! member) Christopher Vasquez. “Many of the queens in San Francisco are artists and entertainers that are being threatened with evictions and displacement that Jane is fighting to end, which is naturally why many of them are drawn to Jane’s positive message about maintaining a San Francisco that is affordable for all, not just some,” Vasquez told us. “Jane has also been at the forefront of saving LGBT nightlife spaces that many queens call home, like her work with the Save Our Stud Coalition to make sure a queer establishment with over 50 years of providing a safe space for queer culture and entertainment to thrive in the City.”
Sup. Wiener, who if elected would be San Francisco’s only openly LGBT San Francisco representative in the state legislature, countered with a statement from his own campaign. “Drag Queens are part of the LGBT community's DNA and have always been leaders in our community,” Wiener’s field director Victor Ruiz-Cornejo told SFist. “They pave the way for change and bring light to critically important issues, all the while encouraging us to enjoy ourselves and have fun. They also encourage us to laugh at ourselves, because in the words of the great RuPaul, if you can't laugh at yourself, how in the hell are you going to laugh at somebody else?”
The queens themselves have also spoken. “As one of city's most recognizable drag impresarios, I feel that I have a responsibility to my community as a social connector,” Juanita MORE! told SFist. “Our LGBTQ community is in danger of losing its place in San Francisco due to the affordability crisis. So many artists have already been forced out. Many of our queer gathering spaces are hanging on by a thread. I believe that Jane will be a great advocate for those who often don’t have a voice.”
Whereas in their open letter to Katy Perry pleading that she waiver their copyright dispute, drag queens Carnie Asada, Miz Palou, and Au Jus write that, “Scott is a champion of LGBT rights” and that “He's been a huge advocate for LGBT nightlife, battling HIV, helping at-risk LGBT youth, and tons of other issues that mean so much to our community.”
The race figures to be extremely close, with Wiener having been declared the original winner of the June primary, only to see Kim squeak out the win by a mere 1,516 votes. With numbers that tight, both candidates had better work: This drag race is hardly over.