Mayor London Breed’s clean sweep of appointees getting elected last week is now in serious jeopardy, as school board appointee Ann Hsu fell 1,700 votes behind progressive Alida Fisher in the latest vote-count batch.
The votes are still being counted from last week’s November 8 election, and per the latest 4 p.m. Monday update from the San Francisco Department of Elections. “The Dept must still process and count approximately 38,000 ballots in the Nov 8 Election.” Yet a conventional wisdom emerged in the day/days following the election that Mayor London Breed scored a royal flush with her appointed candidates who had to face the voters, with the Chronicle observing that voters were “embracing Mayor London Breed’s moderate candidates and causes and giving a boost to her political agenda, from public safety to education.”
But now we may need to slap an asterisk on the “education” part of that statement. The Chronicle now reports that Breed’s post-recall school board appointee Ann Hsu has fallen behind in the race for the third and final school board seat, ceding third place in the vote count to special education advocate Alida Fisher. (The top three vote-count winners get the three available seats in this race.)
As we see above, Breed appointees Lisa Weissman-Ward and Lainie Motamedi are the top-two by far, and have their seats in the bag. But Alida Fisher has overtaken Breed appointee Ann Hsu for the third seat, leapfrogging Hsu in Monday’s vote-count drop, and now in the lead by 1,707 votes in that race.
And this vote has been a dizzying ride since the first batch of ballots was counted last Tuesday night. Hsu and Fisher “were separated by about 2 percentage points and 9,040 votes after the first count,” last Tuesday night, with Hsu well ahead, as the Chronicle observes. “That lead dwindled to 272 votes by Sunday afternoon and flipped Monday with Fisher in the lead by 1,707 votes.”
Ann Hsu, you may remember, faced calls for her resignation in late July over a racist questionnaire response wherein she said that Black and Brown students came from "unstable family environments" with "lack of parental encouragement.” While the publicity brouhaha over the remark seemed a boon for her campaign fundraising, it also seems to have scared off major endorsements. Consider the United Educators of San Francisco flyer above, which endorses only two candidates, post-recall appointee Weissman-Ward, and Fisher, who opposed the recall.
Even some Breed backers and recall advocates have kept Ann Hsu at arm's length. Notice also the above campaign mailer from an SF firefighters union. They endorse only two Breed appointees, Weissman-Ward and Lainie Motamedi, zero mention of Ann Hsu. Yes, by and large nobody looks at these goddamned campaign mailers and they go straight to the recycling in most households. But on the margins, in a close race for a lower-tier office, snubs like these can make a difference (particularly in a teacher’s union mailer).
In the other too-close-to-call nail-biter, Joel Engardio still maintains a tiny lead over incumbent Gordon Mar. Mar has been incrementally chip-chip-chipping into Engardio’s lead with each update, but not by enough thus far. Mar is catching up by dozens of votes with each successive drop, not by the hundreds he needs to. Sure, Mar can take inspiration from Fisher’s leapfrogging of Hsu in the school board race. But school board elections get votes from citywide, the District 4 supervisor’s race gets votes only from District 4. Simply put, there are far fewer votes available for Gordon Mar to pick up traction than there are for school board candidates.
That said, there’s still another vote drop scheduled for 4 p.m. this afternoon, and you can see that update here when it’s posted.
Image: Joe Kukura, SFist