Recent Comments

    Tracking the (Potential) Four SF Elections in 2022

    By Louise “Lou” Fischer–

    Over the last two months, I profiled the upcoming 2022 elections brought about by the recent “musical chairs” of mayoral appointments (corruption in a big city? I’m shocked, shocked!) and potential recalls of elected officials by disgruntled constituents (more shock!). At no time did I expect to be writing a three-part trilogy. While San Francisco elections are hardly the equivalent of the Dionysia festivals of ancient Greece, by the time the elections of 2022 are over, we may pray for the tetralogy to be completed with the equivalent of a satyr play complete with dancing, drinking, and comedy to alleviate the emotional tension.

    Review of How We Got Here

    City Attorney Dennis Herrera was appointed to the SF Public Utilities Commission and Assemblyman David Chiu was appointed to his seat, setting up multiple elections for the District 17 Assembly. The SF School Board mismanaged the pandemic response, causing disgruntled parents to force a recall election. While the city listened to science and was a model for keeping COVID-19-related illness at bay, it didn’t stop “recall fever” from spreading to District Attorney Chesa Boudin, so now his job is in jeopardy. Carmen Chu was appointed City Administrator, which opened up the elected position of Assessor-Recorder, which was filled by Joaquín Torres (appointed by the Mayor), who must run for the position in February and then again in November.   

    On November 12, 2021, Governor Newsom set the date of April 19, 2022, for the special election to fill the vacancy of David Chiu’s Assembly seat. The primary for this election will be held on February 15, 2022; if no candidate receives more than 50% of the votes, then the top two vote getters will face each other again in April. However, these are “special elections” brought about by the aforementioned game of musical chairs occurring in an “odd-numbered year.” 

    Assembly Members, who represent the lower house of the bicameral California State Legislature (the Senate is the upper house), only serve two-year terms and are subject to biennial elections, so Chiu’s seat was already set up for a June primary and November regular election in 2022. And just like that, the lucky contestants who want to represent Assembly District 17 may have the opportunity to run for office four times in one year!

    What is on which ballot and do I have to vote in 4 elections?

    Yes, if you live in San Francisco, you should vote in all four elections; you’ll automatically receive a ballot in the mail. If you want to vote in person, you can do that too.  

    February 15, 2022, Special Election (Primary)

    • School Board Member Recall – Vote to recall up to three members of the seven-member Board of Education;
    • Assessor-Recorder – Joaquín Torres must run to serve out the remainder of Carmen Chu’s term;
    • Assembly District 17 – Open election for David Chiu’s Assembly seat; choose from the current four candidates: David Campos, Matt Haney, Bilal Mahmood (who?), and Thea Selby.

    April 19, 2022, Special Election (General) 

    • Top two candidates from the District 17 race if no candidate achieves a majority of the votes. I’m going to go out on a pretty sturdy limb here and predict that this election will be between Campos and Haney (possible election #2 for Chiu’s seat).

    June 7, 2022, Statewide Primary Election 

    • City Attorney – David Chiu must run to keep his new job;
    • District Attorney Recall – Vote yes if you think Chesa Boudin is doing a bad job;
    • Superior Court – Some local judges;
    • Statewide offices – Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Controller, Treasurer, Attorney General, Insurance Commissioner, Board of Equalization, Superintendent of Public Instruction, and State Assembly (election #3 for Chiu’s seat if there is an April run-off);
    • Federal offices – United States Senator, Congress.

    November 8, 2022, Consolidated General Election 

    • Statewide offices – Top-two run-offs for all primary elections (see prior list) including possible election #4 for Chiu’s seat;
    • Federal offices – Top-two run-offs
    • Statewide Judges;
    • BART Director, District 8;
    • Assessor-Recorder – Torres will have finished out Carmen Chu’s term and must run for a full four-year term;
    • Public Defender – I can’t see anyone running against Manohar Raju, but you never know;
    • Board of Education – If any of the three candidates subject to the February recall are not recalled, they will have to run in this election for a new 4-year term. If the recall is successful, then any candidate(s) appointed by the Mayor will have to run in this election;
    • Community College Board – Three seats are up for election;
    • Board of Supervisors, Districts 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 – None of the five Supervisors are termed out, so the only intrigue in this election will be if Matt Haney wins the District 17 Assembly seat in April, forcing the Mayor to appoint a new Supervisor for District 6. If Haney wins in April and does not make the top-two in the June run-off, he conceivably could run to regain his D6 BOS seat, but that’s even too crazy for SF politics.  

    As I say in almost every column, “elections matter,” although we don’t usually have four chances in one year to show how much they matter.  

    Louise (Lou) Fischer is a Former Co-Chair of the Board of Directors of 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.

    Published on December 2, 2021