SPECIAL SERIES : 2003 Municipal Election
Gonzalez Comes in Second
Gonzalez ekes into December runoff.
November 4, 2003 11:22 PM
The crowd at the Matt Gonzalez victory party was ebullient as the results of his mayorial campaign were read. With 100 percent of precincts reporting, voters have placed Green Party candidate Gonzalez into a December runoff for mayor against moderate Democrat Gavin Newsom.
"It's going to be Mr. Yuppie and Mr. Bohemian," joked Carlos Clay, a volunteer with the Gonzalez campaign upon hearing that Gonzalez had come in second.
The mood of the crowd, which ranged from scruffy skateboarders to seasoned activists, progressively grew more lively as the evening progressed. Supporters trickled in until a steady torrent filled The Gallery at 111 Minna St. in downtown San Francisco.
"Second place, motherfucker," screamed one overjoyed Gonzalez supporter, as the results were projected on the wall.
Gonzalez, a latecomer to the mayoral race, finally made up his mind and filed his intent to run at 8:11 a.m. on Aug. 8, the final day to declare candidacy with the Department of Elections. He returned later in the day, 20 minutes before the 5 p.m. deadline, to submit the required signatures and filing fees.
"It's a great honor to have people come to the polls to select me for mayor," Gonzalez said to his supporters after all the precincts had reported their results.
The crowd swelled around him and cheered as he addressed them. Gonzalez then began an attack on his opponent in the December runoff, Gavin Newsom.
"My opponent is someone that has spent more per vote than Arnold Schwarzenegger," Gonzalez claimed. "Now is not the time to pick a mayor with the major purpose of ribbon cuttings."
California Green Party recall candidate Peter Camejo was also at the victory party and declared Gonzalez "the next mayor of San Francisco."
Gonzalez’s candidacy declaration created a stir throughout San Francisco's political circle. Lucrecia Bermudez, a leftist mayoral candidate, immediately withdrew from the race. Supervisor Tony Hall, who was thinking about a run for the mayor’s seat at the time, stated that he would not join the November race as Gonzalez's campaign was expected to draw votes from other left-leaning candidates such as Tom Ammiano and Angela Alioto.
The late decision by Gonzalez left him very little time to get out his messages and to build up a momentum big enough to draw enough votes to propel him to the runoff in December.
Many of his campaign volunteers and supporters expressed that concern. Jim Dornenkott, a supporter of Gonzalez, said Gonzalez might have entered the race too late to gather enough support and gain enough votes to make a serious challenge to the frontrunners who had entered the race much earlier.
Gonzalez supporters can at least relax for a moment, with the voting results showing that he is on his way to a faceoff with Newsom in next month's runoff election. Gonzalez garnered 20.1 percent of the total votes as of 11 p.m.
Gonzalez, one of the most progressive candidates in this race, supported the successful Proposition L that will raise the minimum wage in the city from $6.75 to $8.50. The proposition also gained wide support from organizations in the city and from many of his fellow supervisors.
Gonzalez was also a supporter of Proposition I, Child Care for Low Income Families, which passed by 60 percent. Proposition I calls for a new program, Children’s Fund, to be created to pay for child care and preschool for low-income families whose income is 75 percent below the California median income. The money for the fund will come from a portion of the property taxes collected by the city.
Gonzalez spoke out against only one proposition in this election, Proposition M-- the highly successful Aggressive Solicitation Ban.
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