Today’s election for the SF Democratic County Central Committee features 51 candidates who you have likely never heard of, vying to make decisions you likely will never pay attention to. But for political nerds, the stakes are high!

If you have not yet voted in today’s California primary election — and based on the low turnout numbers so far, you probably have not — the first page of your ballot is likely to show two very different political races. If you’re a registered Democrat or Republican, the first race that appears on your ballot is your party's nomination for President of the United States, the highest office in the land. And the second race that will appear on your ballot is for “County Central Committee,” which is just obscure local political nerd shit, but basically determines who sits on your SF Democratic or Republican party organizations.

In a city where 64% of voters are registered Democrats, the Democratic party is obviously the much bigger game in town. It’s known as the SF Democratic County Central Committee, or DCCC, or colloquially as the “D-Triple-C,” or “D-Trip.” And there are 51 freaking candidates running for seats on a group whose duties are so unremarkable, that the last time it really made any news was in 2019 when former supervisor Angela Alioto used the N-word a bunch at one of their meetings.

Image: WeDrawTheLines.CA

Making this all even more confusing, your ballot will be different depending on where you live. Those who live in Assembly District 17, the east side of town as seen above, have 30 candidates, from which you pick 14. If you’re in Assembly District 19, the west side of town and a bunch of Daly City too, there are 21 candidates from whom you pick 10.

Here’s a full list of all 51 candidates in both districts, listed under the headings “Democratic County Central Committee.”

Image: Joe Kukura, SFist

So what does the DCCC even do? The most significant thing is deciding on the endorsements you see in official Democratic party mailers like the one seen above (these are not SFist’s endorsements, we’re just showing this flyer for explanatory purposes). These endorsements also drive a fair volume of political contributions, and the DCCC often phone banks for their endorsed candidates or causes, so yes, this organization does move the needle somewhat.

But as the Chronicle explains, this year’s DCCC elections have become a big moderates-vs-progressives fight, bringing a fairly unheard-of $2.6 million in donations to the race. And the two factions both have a “slate,” the centrist Democrats for Change slate, and the more left-wing Labor & Working Families slate.

“Of course, the progressives are going to be, like, ‘The billionaires!’ And of course, the moderates are going to be, like, ‘You’re just allowing homelessness and allowing people to get off scot-free in the legal system!,’” DCCC member Janice Li, who’s not running for reelection, explained to the Chronicle.

Image: Joe Kukura, SFist

There are some familiar names running, but not many. (The graphic above does not show all 51 candidates.) Current SF supervisors Connie Chan, Matt Dorsey, and Catherine Stefani are running, as are former supervisors John Avalos, Sandra Lee Fewer, Jane Kim, and Gordon Mar, plus Michela Alioto-Pier, if you remember her.

Image: Joe Kukura, SFist

But obviously the very active, wealthy tech-industry donors have chosen a side here, and it’s the Democrats for Change slate. (Again, the above graphic only shows their AD-17 candidates). Mission Local had a Monday rundown of tech money being poured into the race, finding that slate has raised a combined $1.9 million, compared to $646,000 for Labor & Working Families.

And some of these donations have been called out as a little shady. While running for SF supervisor comes with a restriction limiting contributions to $500, there are no limits to SF DCCC campaign contributions. So it’s a fairly popular tack to run for both DCCC and supervisor, and use the DCCC account as something of a slush fund for the supervisor race.

The top two fundraisers in these races are both also supervisor candidates: District 5 supervisor candidate Bilal Mahmoud (who’s raised about $225,000 for the DCCC race), and District 1 supervisor candidate Marjan Philhour (who’s raised $197,000 to run for DCCC). Both Mahmoud and Philhour have faced SF Ethics Commission complaints about misusing DCCC funds for their supervisor campaigns.  

Image: Joe Kukura, SFist

Union support has lined up behind the Labor & Working Families slate. One of the top fundraisers on the slate is Supervisor Connie Chan, who’s raised $57,000, mostly from labor unions. Chan has also faced accusations of misusing DCCC funds for supervisor campaigning, but no formal complaints have been filed against her for this reason.

Still, it kind of begs the question of whether some of these candidates even want to win the DCCC race, especially the ones who are also running for supervisor. They may be more interested in the unlimited-dollars campaign slush fund rather than the DCCC seat itself. True, supervisor candidates are barred from using that DCCC campaign money directly for their supervisor campaigns. But they can use it for shameless self-promotion on other issues, which means we’re likely to see lots of “issues” ads for the coming November election which prominently feature the names and faces of DCCC candidates who are also running for supervisor.

Related: A Guide to Your March 5th SF Ballot Measures, Which London Breed’s Fingerprints Are All Over [SFist]

Images: Joe Kukura, SFist