In a mayor’s race where up to the last minute the margin of error was razor thin, former State Senator Mark Leno conceded defeat Wednesday to City Supervisor London Breed.
Leno announced that he had conceded during a press conference at the sign shop he runs. “I called Supervisor London Breed this morning to congratulate her and to wish her every success both personally and professionally in her new job as mayor of San Francisco,” Leno said. “She’s going to do a very fine job. Her success is San Francisco’s success.”
Leno held a slim lead in the ranked-choice balloting after election night last week, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. But Breed soon pulled ahead and steadily widened the gap. On Tuesday, she had a 1,861-vote advantage over Leno with about 9,360 votes still to be counted, according to the city Department of Elections.
Leno told reporters that he saw no point in waiting for the additional ballots to be tallied, as the trend in Breed’s favor was clear.
Although Breed is not the first woman to lead America’s 13th largest city—that achievement belongs to U. S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who took over after the political assassination of Mayor George Moscone in 1978—Breed’s election as a black woman resonated with the city’s poor and underserved residents.
The Chronicle’s chief city hall correspondent and long time political commentator Heather Knight noted in an op-ed piece that Breed will not only make history in the city—she is also “unusual nationally. Currently, the mayors of the country’s 15 largest cities are men. All but three are white men.”
Knight noted that while Leno is openly gay, his sexual orientation didn’t seem to rally voters outside the Castro, perhaps because gay men already have so much political, financial and cultural influence in San Francisco. As one insider told her, “When you think about who’s struggling now, white gay men are not at the top of that list.”
Rather, “the major knock against Breed throughout the race was that she was bought and bossed by angel investor Ron Conway and other super-rich downtown power brokers. But that argument — along with the pledge taken by her competitors Supervisor Jane Kim and former state Sen. Mark Leno to reject super PAC money — didn’t appear to resonate with most San Franciscans,” she writes.
“Instead, voters seem to care most about making a real dent in the misery on our streets and sidewalks — the tent camps, open-air injection drug use and ubiquitous heaps of garbage — and ensuring more people can afford housing in the city.”
Reporting by the staff of the Los Angeles Blade, San Francisco Chronicle & wire service reports.