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    Election Day Recommendations and Predictions

    By Louise “Lou” Fischer–

    Here we are at the halfway point of “the 2nd illegitimate presidency” (Bush “W” being the first) with an important election less than a month away. On the national front, the outcome of the House and Senate elections will decide which America we will live in for another 2 years. On one side is Donald Trump’s version that includes blatant disrespect for rule of law, alienation of our allies, referring to Nazis as “fine people” and promotion of regressive socioeconomic policies. On the other side is hope and the possibility to undo some of the damage done to this country. This could be the most important election in our lifetimes and possibly U.S. history. Do not blow off this election; vote and encourage everyone you know in other states to vote.  

    On the local front, here in San Francisco, there’s a mix of ho-hum uncontested races and some competitive nail-biters. Below is my review of the November 6 election with candidate recommendations and predictions—because won’t it be cool if I pick all the winners?!

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

    Yes, Kevin de Leon is running against Dianne, but please. Did you watch the Judiciary Committee confirmation hearings? We are lucky to have Dianne and should be thankful that she’s willing to serve in this Administration instead of moving to Florida or wherever Jewish grandmothers go to retire.

    Predictions: Pelosi and Feinstein

    State Assembly: David Chiu in AD 17 and Phil Ting in AD 19 are running basically unopposed. Vote for them. 

    Governor: Our own Gavin Newsom is running against a Republican; vote for Gavin. It’s his race to lose, so I predict a win for Gavin.

    Lt. Governor: As I wrote in last month’s column, Eleni Kounalakis triumphed over a cast of thousands in the primary to take the top spot. She’s running against a Democrat. Vote for Eleni. 

    Prediction: Kounalakis

    In the following State races, the recommended candidates are the Dems running against a Republican or “No Party Preference” candidate. I predict a sweep for all of them.

    Secretary of State: Alex Padilla

    Attorney General: Xavier Becerra

    Treasurer: Fiona Ma

    Controller: Betty Yee

    Insurance Commissioner: Ricardo Lara (LGBT, yay)

    Board of Equalization, District 2: Malia Cohen

    The office of Superintendent of Public Instruction is listed as non-partisan but the June primary ended with 2 Democrats duking it out. I recommend Tony Thurmond over Marshall Tuck and pick him for the win in a close race. 

    The non-competitive races in the City include Assessor-Recorder, District 8 Supervisor and Public DefenderCarmen Chu is running for re-election and you should vote for her. Her opponent’s biggest problem is that he’s not Carmen Chu. Rafael Mandelman, emeritus columnist at the San Francisco Bay Times, is running against a tomato can so it’s an easy win for him. Jeff Adachi is running unopposed. I have begged every lawyer I know to run for that seat, but no takers yet, so we’ll have 4 more years of Adachi.

    In the Community College race, there are 4 candidates and you pick 3, so there’s one odd man out. I recommend incumbents Thea Selby and Brigitte Davila and newcomer, Victor Olivieri. The odd man out is John Rizzo; nothing against him, but I think it is time to give a new person a chance and Victor has an impressive background in education as both a professor and administrator. 

    Prediction: Thea is a lock, Brigitte and John are a toss-up and Victor is running a good race, so I predict he wins a spot by a razor thin margin. 

    The Board of Education race has rivaled the best of Netflix in terms of entertainment value. Incumbent Emily Murase, one of my favorite elected officials, is not running due to a misunderstanding about the filing deadline and incorrect information provided by the very folks that run the elections. I could write an entire article about that travesty, but it’s a topic for another time. Another presumed favorite, Josephine Zhao, withdrew from the race due to negative comments regarding transgender students and various other controversial topics. Michelle Parker, an active parent and public school advocate, is my personal favorite in this race, but this is a “pick 3” and there are a thousand other candidates. OK, it’s only 19, but it seemed like a thousand when I had to sit through their presentations at a PAC endorsement meeting. This is a total free-for-all and it is virtually impossible to pick the winners. My guess is that voters will select the candidates who rolled up the most endorsements, so in addition to my prediction of Michelle Parker, maybe 2 out of this bunch will win: Alison Collins, Faauuga Moliga, Gabriela Lopez and Alida Fisher.

    BART Board has 6 candidates running for the District 8 seat. I recommend Melanie Nutter in this race. She has relevant background in transportation and is a fellow Emerge California graduate. Since I have no scientific means of predicting the winner in this race, I’ll put it out to the universe to bring home the win for Melanie

    District 2 has 4 candidates for Supervisor. I’m recommending Catherine Stefani. She is the most qualified candidate, having served as Legislative Aide for the 2 former D2 Supervisors. We were in the same Emerge California training class (Class of ’09!) and she was one of the most impressive members of the class—no small feat, as my class included current Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf and about 10 other women who are now elected officials. The race is going to be a squeaker between Catherine and Nick Josefowitz, who has name recognition from his term on the BART Board. I predict Catherine, but it’s going to be close. 

    District 4 has 8 candidates with Jessica Ho and Gordon Mar as the front runners and Trevor McNeil as everyone’s sentimental pick because he’s such a nice guy and his 3 children are so cute. I don’t have a recommendation or prediction in this race. It could go either way, so I’ll be as surprised as everyone else on the day after the election.

    In District 6 there are 3 solid candidates, any of whom could win, but Matt Haney, School Board Member, has the most momentum. The 2 other candidates, Christine Johnson and Sonja Trauss, formed an alliance to pick up each other’s 2nd choice votes, so that could swing the election for either of them. My recommendation is Christine with Sonja a close second, only because Christine has more relevant experience. I predict Matt will pull this out in the end. 

    District 10 has 6 candidates. The top 3 are perennial candidate Tony Kelly, School Board member Shamann Walton and former Youth Commissioner Theo Ellington. I’ll be diplomatic and do a ranked choice recommendation of Theo at #1 and Shamann at #2. Shamann has more experience and it’s his race to lose, but Theo, a Bayview native, is regarded as a “favorite son” of the District. He’s just downright friendly to everyone; it’s hard to vote against him after meeting him. That said, Shamann has been working this District for a long time and has the edge in this race. I predict Shamann for the win in this election and Theo in 2026. 

    Don’t forget to vote on (or before) November 6. Every vote really does count. In 2014, Betty Yee won the primary in the Controller’s race by 484 votes out of 4 million; roughly 1/100th of a percent, yikes!

    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 non-profit and community-based organizations.