Editor's note: This story includes a correction.
The two candidates vying to replace Mark Leno as San Francisco state senator sat down for a conversation at KQED Friday and discussed a wide range of issues, from affordable housing to what it takes to get things done in Sacramento.
San Francisco Supervisors Scott Wiener and Jane Kim would both be considered liberal Democrats almost anywhere but San Francisco, where even a friendly relationship with a Republican can arouse suspicion.
Wiener, considered the more moderate candidate, declined to defend TV ads from an outside group that describe Kim as a flip-flopper who is always "betraying her values." The ad by Equality California, an LGBT rights PAC, is funded in part by realtors, apartment owners and other business groups.
"That's not my ad," Wiener said. "I will speak for my ad, and we've had debates and talked about differences of opinion."
Kim, who is endorsed by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, highlighted her consistent support for tenants and affordable housing.
"We need a progressive voice in Sacramento," Kim said. "We are increasingly seeing business-friendly Democrats in Sacramento fight Ellis Act reforms (on tenant evictions) and make higher education more affordable again."
Wiener defended his own liberal bona fides saying, "I've been a fighter for housing in San Francisco, for protecting renters, expanding rent control ... and more transit-oriented housing."
Wiener also noted that if he doesn't succeed Sen. Leno, San Francisco will be without any LGBT representative at the state Capitol. (San Francisco Assemblyman David Chiu replaced termed-out, openly gay Assemblyman Tom Ammiano two years ago.)
"Our straight allies are incredibly important," Wiener said, adding that it's also important to have an openly LGBT representative
When asked what they each liked about the other, Wiener said, "Jane has been a really good fighter for pedestrian safety."
For her part, Kim said, "Scott is someone who always stands up and takes hard positions that are not always popular."
In the June primary, Kim surprised many by edging out Wiener by less than 700 votes with help from Sen. Sanders. The race is believed to be very close, with both candidates pushing hard before the Nov. 8 election. Whoever wins, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee will get to name their replacement.
Correction: This story was edited to remove a reference to oil companies funding an Equality California campaign advertisement.