Jane Kim divides support due to ranked-choice voting in San Francisco 

Supervisor Jane Kim campaigned for a mayoral candidate Tuesday — but not her old roommate David Chiu, the Board of Supervisors president who stuck out his neck to support her election.

Her support for interim Mayor Ed Lee raised questions about Kim’s loyalty to Chiu, who defied allies by supporting her instead of progressive Debra Walker. But Kim said she hasn’t forgotten Chiu — she can endorse three candidates under ranked-choice voting.

Kim’s surprise announcement highlighted one way in which Lee’s late entry is changing the dynamics of the November mayoral race, The City’s first under ranked-choice voting, which lets voters pick three candidates for mayor and other posts. If no one gets a majority of votes, the worst-performing candidates are gradually eliminated until second- and third-place picks push someone over the top.

When Oakland used the method last November, the cooperation between opponents of front-runner Don Perata enabled Mayor Jean Quan to engineer her surprise victory.

Yet, despite the possible benefits of cooperation in San Francisco, none of the major mayoral candidates have publicly taken such steps.

Kim seems to be the first official to publicly support more than one person. She said her three picks are Lee, Chiu and Supervisor John Avalos, although she declined to rank them.

Last week, during an interview with The San Francisco Examiner’s editorial board, Chiu, Avalos and former Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier all declined to state whether they will cooperate with other candidates.

Alioto-Pier said the fact that six candidates have sizable campaign war chests makes San Francisco’s mayoral race very different from Oakland’s, where only three candidates were believed to have any reasonable chance of victory.

maldax@sfexaminer.com

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