London Breed Breezes to Victory — Elected to First Full Term as Mayor of SF

Mayor London Breed celebrates her re-election with Supervisor Norman Yee.  (Stephanie Lister/KQED News)

San Francisco Mayor London Breed cruised to reelection on Tuesday, winning her first full term against a field of little-known opponents.

Breed, who won a special election in 2018 to serve the remainder of late Mayor Ed Lee's term, declared victory less than 90 minutes after the polls closed Tuesday evening. She finished the night with more than two-thirds of first-place votes.

"Thank you for honoring me with four more years as mayor!” she told a cheering crowd at her election party. "Every single day that I get up, I’m thinking, 'What are we going to do to make San Francisco better now and for generations to come?' I grew up in this city and in poverty and I never thought that in my life that I would have the opportunity to serve in this capacity, and I don't take it lightly."

With no strong progressive candidate stepping forward to challenge her, Breed's reelection was never really in doubt. Instead, the ultimate success of her night — and the real referendum on her performance as mayor thus far — will be determined by the margin of her victory and the results of a handful of local races and ballot measures that she supported.

Breed took office in July 2018, after winning a bitterly fought campaign against former state Sen. Mark Leno and Supervisor Jane Kim.

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Less than a year and a half later, no established progressive candidate challenged Breed for reelection. The other candidates were largely unknown to city voters.

Ellen Lee Zhou, a behavioral health clinician and Breed's most conservative opponent, appeared headed for a distant second place finish. Zhou received some attention for purchasing a billboard that was removed by its owner for an "offensive" depiction of Breed.

As of early Wednesday morning, more San Franciscans left the mayoral ballot blank than voted for one of Breed's four other opponents.

Those challengers are Joel Ventresca, a former county commissioner and previous mayoral candidate; Paul Ybarra Robertson, a former school district employee; Wilma Pang, founder of a Chinatown organization that promotes local tourism; and Robert L. Jordan Jr., a street minister.

With Breed's victory secured in the first round of ballot results, attention turned to the races in which the mayor has a vested political interest.

Proposition A, a $600 million affordable housing bond that the mayor championed along with the entire Board of Supervisors, appears headed to victory.

The fate of two other races that Breed invested political capital in are far from certain.

The closely watched race for district attorney is too close to call, as interim District Attorney Suzy Loftus is neck in neck with progressive candidate Chesa Boudin.

In October, Breed appointed Loftus to the post, after incumbent George Gascón resigned just weeks before the election, a move critics saw as the city's power brokers attempting to tilt the political scales toward Loftus.

Loftus, a former prosecutor, is more aligned with Breed than is Boudin, a public defender who has questioned the effectiveness of Breed's priorities, like drug bust operations and efforts to expand the city's conservatorship program, which forces certain mentally ill people into treatment.

Another proxy for Breed's support is a race for the District 5 seat on the Board of Supervisors, where her appointee, Vallie Brown, is defending her seat against Dean Preston, a vocal critic of the mayor.

A loosely aligned progressive majority already holds power on the board, and a Preston victory could further complicate Breed's ability to carry out her agenda.

The result in that race will also be determined in the days to come.