New San Francisco mayor breaks barriers
SAN FRANCISCO — San Francisco Supervisor (councillor) London Breed emerged victorious a week after Election Day to become the city’s first African-American woman elected mayor, narrowly defeating a rival who was seeking to become the first openly gay man in the position.
Former state Sen. Mark Leno called Breed Wednesday to congratulate her on the victory.
The elections office continued to tally roughly 7,000 ballots, but there was no way Leno could make up the difference. On Wednesday, Breed, 43, was leading Leno by fewer than 2,200 votes of nearly 250,000 counted and had 50.49 per cent of the vote.
In a brief appearance before reporters and cheering supporters on the steps of city hall, an exuberant Breed said she was humbled, honoured and looking forward to serving as mayor.
In particular, she relished the message her election sends to San Francisco’s youth, especially kids like herself who grew up poor.
“No matter where you come from, no matter what you decide to do in life, you can do anything you want to do,” she said. “Never let your circumstances determine your outcome in life.”
Breed vowed to be mayor for all of San Francisco, a message she repeated throughout her bid to lead a city that is economically thriving, but mired in homelessness, congestion and unaffordable homes.
She has vowed to rid the sidewalks of homeless tent camps within a year of taking office.
Turnout exceeded 50 per cent— unusually high for recent mayoral elections— in a contest that was placed on the June 5 ballot after the unexpected death of Mayor Ed Lee in December.
Breed will fill the rest of Lee’s term, which ends in early 2020, and must run in November 2019 for a full four-year term.
Breed consistently maintained her lead in first-place votes, but San Francisco uses a unique ranked-choice voting system that allows voters to pick their top three for mayor.
Leno and Supervisor Jane Kim asked their supporters to pick the other as their No.2, saying that Breed represented the status quo that had made San Francisco so inequitable. All three are Democrats.
Breed was the favourite of the business and political establishment communities going into the contest. She raised the most money of the candidates with the help of contributions from big backers.
Leno, 66, did not rule out a future run for office.
London Breed: first AfricanAmerican woman to lead San Francisco.