Long-time activist, musician, and cultural worker Francisco Herrera came in second place against incumbent San Francisco mayor Ed Lee in the Nov. 3 election, earning 31.59 percent of the vote in the city’s “ranked choice” voting system to Lee’s 56.1 percent.
Herrera and candidates Amy Farah Weiss and Stuart “Broke-Ass Stuart” Schuffman comprised “The People’s Campaign” coalition, whose “Vote 1-2-3 against Ed Lee” mantra aimed to send a message to City Hall, asking for a change in direction for the city.
“The city is changing,” Herrera, who is Mexican-American, said in a statement. “But it doesn’t have to be for the worse. With leadership that values affordability, cultural heritage, and equity, the city can continue to grow.”
San Francisco’s ranked choice system counts not only voters’ first choices, but also who they would like for their second and third choices. This allows minority coalitions, such as “The People’s Campaign,” to band together against more established or wealthier candidates. Schuffman and Weiss urged their supporters to mark Herrera as a second- or third-choice candidate.
Herrera garnered 18,315 first-choice votes (14.68 percent), while Weiss garnered 14,458 (11.59 percent) and Schuffman 11,821 (9.48 percent) as of press time.
Once Schuffman and Farrah-Weiss were eliminated, their supporters’ second-choice votes bolstered Herrera’s campaign, ultimately garnering him 34,946 votes, and landing him in the second place spot.
Herrera’s breakout moment in the campaign came at the first mayoral debate, when Mayor Ed Lee pointed to a rejuvenation of the Mid-Market neighborhood as his crowning achievement.
“[There are] jobs, but for people who don’t live here,” Herrera responded.
“10,000 people have been kicked out of the Mission. The Bayview Hunter’s Point has been completely devastated. People are feeling an angst—a general angst at what this has created. This planning is not for us, we have to come back to plan and develop for our community.”
Despite heavy community support, Herrera, Weiss and Schuffman weren’t viewed as serious candidates in opposing Lee.
While Herrera didn’t win, the support he, Weiss and Schuffman received from the voters sends a clear message, one that City Hall should not ignore.
Story by: Camilo Landau