The progressive leaders who worked to move municipal elections from off-years to presidential-election years argued that higher turnout is always good, that the more voters who come out to choose the next mayor the better for the city.
It’s hard to argue with that.
But it’s also the case that in the 2024 election, a lot of voters who don’t pay much attention to local politics will go to the polls to vote for Joe Biden (and, unless he’s in prison, against Donald Trump), and won’t have as much information about the local races.
That’s why pretty much everyone involved agrees that control of the local Democratic County Central Committee, which decides on the endorsement of the Democratic Party in municipal races, will be critical. A group of tech billionaires is preparing to put up essentially unlimited money to elect a slate of conservative candidates who will likely endorse Mayor London Breed and supervisor candidates challenging progressives.
On Friday, a progressive group known as the Labor and Working Families slate announced its competing group of candidates, who include some prominent current and former elected officials and strong representation from local unions.
“This is a bad day for Republican billionaires and a good day for grassroots Democrats,” Peter Gallotta, a current DCCC member and
leader in the slate, told the crowd gathered at the Department of Elections. “San Francisco values are under attack, and we are in this to win this.”
Among the candidates: Former Sup. Sandra Lee Fewer, who said that:
With national media and billionaires like Elon Musk fixated on attacking San Franciscans and our values, I knew how important it was that I step up and run for one of these critical seats. I’m so proud to be running alongside all these incredible San Franciscans and together, we can ensure we have a San Francisco that works for everyone, not just the rich.
From Sal Rosselli, a longtime labor leader:
We are the frontline healthcare workers, teachers, plumbers, civil servants, tradesmen, organizers, and community leaders that are the backbone of San Francisco. We’re running to be champions for every San Franciscan who’s finding it hard.er and harder to afford to stay in the city.
Former Supervisor Jane Kim:
Across the country and in San Francisco, right-wing special interests and billionaires continue to try to buy our elections while attacking our democratic values. The only way to counter this is by organizing our communities, building strong coalitions with organized labor, and centering the needs of working families in our Democratic Party locally and nationally.
It’s going to be a huge struggle. The progressives need to win most of the 24 seats that are on the ballot, 14 on the east side of town and 10 on the west, since the remainder of the DCCC is made up of the “ex officios,” who are state and federal elected officials who live in San Francisco.
That group currently votes more conservative—it’s the likes of Assemblymember Matt Haney, state Sen. Scott Wiener, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, state Controller Malia Cohen and state Treasurer Fiona Ma.
With the death of Senator Dianne Feinstein, the total membership stands at 32. The progressives need to win 17 of the 24 seats to ensure control of the panel.
But name recognition is a key element, as is the endorsement of groups like labor unions. The progressive slate has more people who have previously won elective office and more labor members.
It’s a down-ballot issue. The stakes are high.