Early on election night, Matt Haney’s supporters danced, ate and drank underneath dimmed, blue lights inside Calle-11 Nightclub.
The party for the school board member since 2012 stuck to theme; that is, it morphed into a celebration as Haney seized the lead to become District 6 supervisor.
Haney took a decisive lead early on, raking in 56.8 percent of votes and never letting go. His opponents, Christine Johnson, a former planning commissioner, came in with 25.1 percent and Sonja Trauss, co-founder of the YIMBY movement, finished 17.9 percent.
Haney told a small crowd of reporters outside the club:
“We were as surprised as anybody that we did as well as we did in the early returns. But at the same time what we were seeing when we were actually out there with people, was tremendous support …”
“For us to be doing well everywhere, I think is a testament to our message and our focus on the actual experiences that people have in this district around homelessness, cleaning the streets, affordable housing.
Johnson and Trauss pitched a joint campaign, attempting to leverage the ranked-choice strategy of incumbent District 6 Supervisor Jane Kim and former State Senator Mark Leno in their unsuccessful bids for San Francisco mayor earlier this year.
All three District 6 candidates promoted similar priorities — building more housing and cleaning up the streets — making this race a matter of different styles and personalities.
Haney had been hailed as the progressive of the three, though the line between progressive and moderate has been blurred in this particular race. Johnson and Strauss have labeled Haney as the status quo. San Francisco Mayor London Breed endorsed both Johnson and Trauss.
Now, with former nonprofit leader Gordon Mar appearing to head toward victory in District 4, and Haney securing the District 6 win, progressives are slated to take a majority on the Board of Supervisors.
David Smith, a teacher at Ida B. Wells High School, attended Haney’s election party, also. He approved of Haney’s job on the board of education and believes Haney will “do the best for working families and students” amid San Francisco’s affordability crisis:
“He had a lot of money coming against him, but he had the grassroots support. So, it was good to see that the grassroots support trumped the big money coming in. I’m just hoping that he’ll support affordable housing and rent control and money for services in the neighborhood.”
A few blocks away, Trauss mingled with supporters and volunteers at her campaign headquarters. The mood shifted as the first election results rushed in. Trauss, sitting on a couch in the room, appeared shocked, maybe even sad, when the first results were announced.
Trauss told SFBay before the first results came in:
“I’ve been running on legalizing affordable housing all over the city and it’s cool because that’s just an idea. Whether I win or lose, we can still work on that — and I’d like to. [Affordable housing] has broad support [and] people understand it… So, I do think it should be the duty of the District 6 supervisor to push for this policy …”
Trauss’s election party at Club 93 never took flight. Volunteers alternated between the office around the corner on Mission street and the bar. The small crowd of patrons at the bar of Club 93, sipping their beers and eating pizza, appeared nonchalant. Close to midnight, Trauss and her supporters flocked to the bar. Chatting and drinking was the order.
Zhihan Zou, field director for Haney’s campaign, pointed to Haney’s support among broad communities that distinguished him from his opponents:
“He is someone who clearly had a lot of support from the communities, someone who is able to work with others, be a voice for others, but also uplift the voice of people … I felt [that he] would be a great supervisor to represent such a diverse district where we have the most high-income zip code and the lowest income zip code in The City, all in one district.”
For the rest of the night, Haney supporters danced and celebrated. People tried their best dance moves to songs like “Blow the Whistle.” Haney mingled with the crowd and snapped selfies with the entourage of supporters who asked him to do so.
Kim, also in attendance, danced with the crowd, and also addressed the attendees:
“We did it again — eight more years. It has been this community that has led the leadership in District 6 and making sure that we continue to win in San Francisco. It has always been with grassroots power that we have been able to win in this district, and we’ve been able to show that this district matters and that we can continue to hold that seat.”
“… This [Board of Supervisors] looks really good. This board is going to hold the City accountable for making sure, as Matt said, that this is a city for all of us and not just some of us.”
Rocio Perez, manager and bartender at Calle-11 Nightclub, told SFBay:
“This district is a melting pot of everything around it, literally. So they get a little bit of everything from everywhere, and I feel like [Haney] is coming in with the right mindset. He is not just blabbing, he is for it. He works with a lot of people closely. He is not just up here, he is with the people as well.”