Strategists following the race agree that the accelerated campaign accentuates the advantage for candidates who enter the race with higher name identification in the district, which spans the eastern half of the city.
Campos, who represented the Mission, the Portola and Bernal Heights on the Board of Supervisors from 2008 to 2016, also ran for the seat in 2014, losing a competitive race to Chiu.
"I think that in life, you actually learn more from your failures or mistakes than you do victories," said Campos. "And when I lost that race, I didn't just leave. I actually continued working and found other ways in which I could continue to serve."
Campos was chair of the San Francisco Democratic Party from 2017 until this year, worked as a county executive in Santa Clara and is now chief of staff to San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin.
The son of Guatemalan immigrants who brought him to the U.S. as a teen, when he was undocumented, Campos said his priority in the Assembly will be looking out for the health needs of working Californians like his parents.
"The first bill that I will introduce will be a bill to make Medicare for all and single-payer the law in California," he said. "We need single-payer to address the health disparities that led to different outcomes during the pandemic for some communities."
Haney, the former president of the San Francisco Board of Education, has represented neighborhoods including SoMa, the Tenderloin and Civic Center on the Board of Supervisors since 2019.
Haney has been a recurrent critic of Mayor London Breed, calling for more oversight of the mayor's department heads. But he was able to compromise with Breed to achieve an overhaul of the city's mental health care system.
"I represent ... one of the toughest districts, where I've taken on really big problems and delivered," Haney said.
If elected to the state Legislature, Haney said he would tackle the root causes of the issues that have turned his district into the epicenter of San Francisco's homelessness and drug crises.
"Not just pull the bodies out of the river to get them help, but to go up the river and find why they're being pushed in there to begin with," he said.
Selby, a City College of San Francisco board trustee and public transit advocate, did not respond to a request for an interview. She has served as a member of the board of directors for the state's High-Speed Rail Authority and is co-chair of the San Francisco Transit Riders board of directors.
The political newcomer in the race is Bilal Mahmood, an entrepreneur who founded the analytics startup ClearBrain, which was acquired by Amplitude last year.
In this Assembly race, he's likely to run to the center of Campos and Haney, in an attempt to appeal to the bloc of voters considered "moderate" in reliably liberal San Francisco.
The son of Pakistani immigrants, Mahmood remembers visiting the Tenderloin as a kid to eat at Shalimar Restaurant on Jones Street. Now, he says, the neighborhood is evidence of how the city's "tribal politics" have failed residents.
"All of the foundations of what makes it possible to achieve the American dream, from safety to schools to transit to health care [are] disappearing," said Mahmood. "And I feel that a lot of San Franciscans are upset about that."
Mahmood said he is working with Saikat Chakrabarti — the former chief of staff to New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who helped craft the Green New Deal — to develop a comprehensive environmental platform for California.
The proposal, Mahmood said, will include a carbon tax to fund zero-interest loans to help families and businesses pay for green retrofits.
"We think we're a Democratic establishment, but a lot of the oil and gas unions really own a lot of the Democrats in Sacramento," he added.
Mahmood could draw a clear contrast with Campos and Haney if the Assembly campaign intersects with recall elections pending against three San Francisco school board members and Boudin, the district attorney, who critics say is too lenient toward those committing crimes in the city.