Although District 6 incumbent Chris Daly and his lead challenger, Rob Black, both boasted that victory was certain, by the end of election night, the vote was too close to declare either candidate a clear winner.
Approaching Election Day, the two politicians — who differ greatly in their political styles — were in a tight contest to the finish.
The outcome of the District 6 race — along with an open seat in District 4 — is being closely watched because the balance of power on the Board of Supervisors often provides Mayor Gavin Newsom with the four votes necessary to have veto power on legislation passed by the 11-member board.
Based on the ranked-choice voting system, a candidate must receive a majority of the votes. If no candidate receives a majority, ballots that voted for the candidate with the lowest amount of votes will have their first choice eliminated and their second choice will count as their vote. The ballots are then recounted. This process is repeated until a candidate receives a majority of the votes. The Department of Elections is expected to announce an unofficial winner of the race on Friday.
Daly, a former housing organizer with a headstrong approach to politics, represents a wide stretch of The City — Treasure Island, South of Market, South Beach, the Tenderloin, Civic Center and part of the Mission. He is unapologetically focused on serving the predominately low-income constituents of his district, much to the chagrin of The City’s business interests.
His lead challenger, Rob Black, a former aide to District 2 Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier, ran on a platform of compromise, promising to change the dialogue between stakeholders from "the politics of confrontation to the politics of conversation." The beneficiary of anti-Daly campaigns, Black garnered the political and financial support of the mayor and the business community.
Posted signs throughout The City, calling for voters to "Unplug the Daly Show," for example, were paid for by The Golden Gate Restaurant Association, whose Board of Directors objected to Daly’s unwillingness to compromise on legislation mandating employee sick days, the organization’s president, Kevin Westlye, said.
Recent poll numbers showed Black in the lead and many are hoping that the changing demographics of District 6 brought in a fresh voting block from the South of Market, Mission Bay and South Beach areas that favor Black.
Dismissive of the poll numbers, Daly said he saw his role at City Hall as one that allowed "folks of all different types of backgrounds" to have a say in the decision-making process.