Aug 4, 2022 - Politics

D6 supervisor race to test area's shade of blue

Side by side photos of man and woman smiling.
Matt Dorsey, current D6 supervisor, and Honey Mahogany, who is running against Dorsey in November. Photos: Lea Suzuki/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images, courtesy of Honey Mahogany

The race for San Francisco District 6 supervisor is shaping up as a test of how far to the left on the political spectrum residents are willing to go.

Why it matters: There's an ideological divide between San Franciscans who are split over how to address issues like public safety, policing and affordable housing.

  • The race between Honey Mahogany, who describes herself as a "practical progressive," and the more middle-of-the-road incumbent Matt Dorsey, a former communications director for the San Francisco Police Department, could spark the latest battle between progressives and moderates in the city.
  • The November election will be the first time we see how the newly redistricted area votes in a supervisorial race.

State of play: D6 was, as of earlier this year, considered a progressive district under the leadership of Matt Haney, who succeeded progressive supervisor Jane Kim.

  • The issues D6 faces, Mahogany tells Axios, are the same as rest of the city, "just hyper concentrated," including public safety failures, a lack of affordable housing and homelessness.
  • SOMA, in D6, is home to a number of tech companies, and among the hardest-hit areas for fentanyl-related overdoses, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The area also encompasses neighborhoods like Mission Bay, South Beach and Treasure Island.
  • Until recent redistricting, D6 included the Tenderloin, where Mahogany co-founded the Transgender District.

Details: Mahogany and Dorsey both have roots in the LGBTQ+ communities and support from high-profile elected officials.

  • Mahogany is a transgender activist and former contestant on "RuPaul's Drag Race," who has the backing of Haney, her former boss. She would be the first transgender supervisor in San Francisco.
  • Dorsey is openly gay, HIV-positive and in recovery for substance abuse. He has the support of the more moderate Mayor London Breed.
  • Both candidates have been elected to the San Francisco Democratic County Central Committee, which works to engage and mobilize Democrats in the city. Mahogany, the chair, received the sole endorsement from the SF DCCC for the D6 race.
  • Of note: There are two lesser-known candidates also in the D6 race, community activist Billie Cooper and labor leader Cherelle Jackson.

What they're saying: If elected, Mahogany says she'd prioritize addressing the mental health crisis among the district's unhoused population.

  • The city needs to increase beds for those with mental health disorders and "get the folks who are struggling with addiction issues to the point of psychosis off the streets," she told us.
  • She said she would prioritize the expansion and implementation of Mental Health SF, an initiative she worked on as an aide in Haney’s office, in part by building more mental health and rehab facilities.

The other side: In one of his first moves as supervisor, Dorsey introduced a "Right to Recovery" bill to establish priority law enforcement areas near substance abuse treatment facilities.

  • The bill, he said on Twitter, "is about better protecting those who take the brave first step of seeking recovery from addiction or alcoholism from the dangerous influences of open-air drug scenes and predatory drug dealers."

Flashback: As seen in the June recall election of progressive District Attorney Chesa Boudin, Democrats' ideologies can vary greatly.

  • Dorsey supported the recall, saying Boudin "might be emboldening those who traffic deadly drugs and engage in dangerous criminal conduct on our neighborhoods' streets."
  • Mahogany, on the other hand, opposed the move, telling Axios: "One person isn't responsible for all of this mess we are in," and "some of the people who are responsible for the state of our streets are getting off way too easy and shifting the blame."

What's next: The election is Nov. 8, with the four-year term beginning in January.

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