State Sen. Leland Yee’s campaign for mayor is furious that the local Democratic Party balked on endorsing an Asian-American candidate at its Wednesday night meeting. Members were set to consider a third candidate in a second round of voting after the group chose to endorse Supervisor John Avalos and City Attorney Dennis Herrera last month.
In August, the 32-member board didn’t come up with enough votes to name a tertiary candidate to match The City’s ranked-choice voting system, which allows voters to choose up to three candidates.
Jim Stearns, Yee’s campaign manager, sent out a press release Thursday blaming the campaign of Mayor Ed Lee for blocking the vote after Yee was expected to have the votes to get the third-place support. Stearns said the move was especially low considering Lee supporters were angry after the first meeting when none of the five Asian candidates in the race were endorsed.
“Ed Lee’s calls for unity are a complete sham,” Stearns said in the release. “We had an historic opportunity for the Democratic Party to endorse an Asian American for mayor and Ed Lee prevented it.”
Stearns specifically blamed Lee supporters Mary Jung, Leslie Katz and Arlo Hale Smith - the brother of Lee’s campaign consultant, Ace Smith – for blocking the vote.
Accusations of anti-Chinese racism have been flying in the race, many of them directed at the local Democratic Party chairman and former Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin.