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    Election Recap: Many Celebrations and a Few Tears

    By Louise “Lou” Fischer–

    In my article last month, ( http://sfbaytimes.com/election-day-recommendations-predictions/ ), I noted that this election would be a referendum on which America we will live in for the next 2 years. Unfortunately, we didn’t get everything we wanted: no Beto O’Rourke in Texas, and as of press time, no Andrew Gillum in Florida or Stacey Abrams in Georgia—but hopefully that will change. On a happier note, we regained control of the House of Representatives and the hope of returning governmental checks and balances, rule of law and basic decency to Trumpian crazy-town where no one in the Executive Branch passed 5th grade Civics class and the U.S. Constitution is regarded as an inconvenience.

    The story of this election was women, diversity and historic firsts, many involving members of the LGBT community. Highlights of LGBT victories include Sharice Davids of Kansas, the first lesbian Native American elected to Congress, and Angie Craig, the first openly LGBTQ person in Minnesota to win a Congressional seat. Jared Polis of Colorado became the country’s first openly gay governor, and as a double bonus, he’s also the first Jewish governor of that state. According to the Victory Fund, a nonprofit organization dedicated to training and supporting LGBTQ candidates, the “rainbow wave” accounted for a total of 154 wins (as of press time) in federal, state and local races.  

    On the local front, in last month’s column, I posted my election predictions for local and state candidate races, so let’s see how I did.

    Federal: U.S House, Nancy Pelosi, and U.S. Senate, Dianne Feinstein

    Leader Pelosi ran virtually unopposed and it was a good thing since she spent most of her time supporting the Red-to-Blue Headquarters and other “Flip the House” organizations. Some unknown number of newly and re-elected House members owe her their first-born child or a similarly valuable gift of gratitude and they’d better remember that in January when they vote for Speaker of the House. Senator Feinstein prevailed in the U.S. Senate race, however, Kevin de Leon did capture 45.6% of the votes, so I’m sure we’ll see him again in future elections.

    State Assembly: David Chiu in AD 17 and Phil Ting in AD 19 ran virtually unopposed but it still counts as 2-for-2 in my tally.

    Governor: I predicted Gavin Newsom; he beat Republican John Cox 59.4% to 40.6%. He’s been the understudy for 8 years and now he takes the stage in the lead role.  

    Lieutenant Governor: I correctly predicted Eleni Kounalakis; she beat her opponent 55.8% to 44.2%. I campaigned for Eleni and fell madly in “political love” with her. She’s a hard worker and has big plans for her role as Lieutenant Governor. Unlike office holders who preceded her (no names!), she does not see this as a “consolation prize”; we’ll be seeing a great deal of good policy coming from this office in the next 4 (or 8!) years.  

    In the following State races, I predicted a sweep for all of them. As of press time, Ricardo Lara is in a tight race that is still too close to call, but it looks like the late returns are swinging his way.

    Secretary of State: Alex Padilla

    Attorney General: Xavier Becerra

    Treasurer: Fiona Ma

    Controller: Betty Yee

    Insurance Commissioner: Ricardo Lara (LGBT)

    Board of Equalization, District 2: Malia Cohen

    In the race for Superintendent of Public Instruction I picked Tony Thurmond “for the win in a close race.” I got the “close race” part right. It’s a nail-biter and still too close to call. I expect this to drag out for a while. As of press time, there are still 4.5 million absentee and provisional votes to count.   

    Assessor-Recorder, District 8 Supervisor, and Public Defender races were unopposed, so congratulations to Carmen Chu, Rafael Mandelman, and Jeff Adachi respectively. We expect great things from all of you since you didn’t have to raise the equivalent of a Brinks truck full of money to run for office.

    In the Community College race, I went 2-for-3. I predicted Thea Selby and either Brigitte Davila or John Rizzo with Victor Olivieri picking up a spot by a “razor-thin margin.” I underestimated the power of incumbency for down-ballot races. Victor ran a good campaign, but came in 4th. If he runs again in 2 years, he’ll have more name visibility and a better chance.

    In the Board of Education free-for-all with 19 candidates, I did pretty well. Let’s call it 2-for-3 as I predicted all 3 of the winners—Alison Collins, Faauuga Moliga and Gabriela Lopez—but I thought that Michelle Parker would pick up one of the seats. I recommended Michelle and hope that she runs again in 2 years.   

    BART Board had 6 solid candidates and I punted on a prediction. Janice Li prevailed with 30% of the vote. I recommended Melanie Nutter in this race. She came close to tying for 2nd place. Melanie has a fantastic background in public policy and I predict we’ll be voting for her again in a future election.  

    District Supervisor Races

    In District 2, I predicted that incumbent Catherine Stefani would win in a “squeaker.” It was hardly a squeaker—Catherine ran a “people-powered” campaign with a heavy reliance on eager volunteers and she won decisively. I was proud to wear out the soles of 2 pairs of sneakers for my Emerge Sister. Congratulations, Catherine!

    In District 4, I did not make a definitive prediction other than declaring Jessica Ho and Gordon Mar the front runners. Gordon Mar prevailed, but it took 7 rounds (instant runoff) to hit the 50% threshold. By “moderate” vs “progressive” standards, the Sunset is one of the most conservative districts in the city, so the flip of this district to a progressive candidate is sure to be a game-changer at City Hall.  

    In District 6, I correctly predicted Matt Haney. He did very well in this race and I hope that his campaign prowess translates to the job of Supervisor as there is a great deal of work to be done in parts of the district that are besieged with homelessness, open-air drug dealing/usage, discarded needles and overall despair by many residents. 

    In District 10, I correctly predicted Shamann Walton and he captured 42% of first choice votes. Third-time candidate Tony Kelly came in 2nd with 24% and first-time candidate, Theo Ellington, followed with 20%. Somewhere in Dogpatch or the Bayview there is a production facility ramping up to print T-shirts and buttons for the “Theo 2028” campaign.  

    Final tally: taking out the races that are still too close to call, I went 22-for-24 for a 92% success rate. If you are feeling post-election sadness, fear not. The next City election is November 5, 2019, less than 1 year from now!

    Louise (Lou) Fischer is the Immediate Past Co-Chair of the Board of Directors for the Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club and has served as an appointed and elected Delegate for the State Democratic Party. She is a proud graduate of the Emerge California Women’s Democratic Leadership program, was a San Francisco Commissioner and has served in leadership positions in multiple nonprofit and community-based organizations.