Oct 20, 2022 - Politics

Midterm elections 2022: Voting in San Francisco

Illustration of a white podium changing into a voting booth and then changing into three campaign signs, over a divided red and blue background.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Mail-in ballots should have arrived by now, and in case yours is already collecting dust, we've put together an election guide to help.

Why it matters: While midterm elections in left-leaning California might not get as much national attention as swing states like North Carolina or Georgia, there are plenty of hotly contested propositions and local races to watch.

  • Plus, we're deciding whether to re-elect our governor.

Voting in the 2022 midterm elections:

💌 Early, mail-in voting is an option from now through Election Day.

🗳️ To vote in person, find your nearest polling place.

  • Polls will be open 7am–8pm on Nov. 8.

We've broken down some of the top races and ballot measures:

California governor: Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) vs. Brian Dahle (R)

Photo illustration of Governor of California Gavin Newsom and Brian Dahle
Photo illustration: Axios Visuals. Photos: Jerod Harris via Getty Images; and Courtesy of the campaign of Brian Dahle

With registered Democrats outnumbering Republicans by a 2-1 ratio in California, incumbent Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) is expected to have no major contest from Brian Dahle (R) in his bid for a second term.

  • Despite a recall attempt against him last year, Newsom had a healthy 58% versus 31% advantage over Dahle in a recent poll from the Public Policy Institute of California.

What they're saying: In its endorsement of Newsom, the San Francisco Chronicle criticized the governor for vetoing a bill to legalize supervised drug sites, calling the decision "seemingly politically motivated" and "cowardly."

  • Still, the paper applauded Newsom for a slew of housing bills he's signed into law in recent weeks, including those aimed at converting vacant commercial spaces into viable housing.
  • Questions have swirled around whether Newsom will run for president in 2024, a notion he's denied.
  • As for Dahle — a family farmer and state senator from Lassen County — the Chronicle called him a "thoughtful and passionate advocate for rural California with a track record of bipartisan compromise."

Details: Dahle has focused his campaign on crime rates in California, telling CalMatters earlier this year that his top goal as governor would be to "get violent criminals off our streets."

  • He's also made food and gas prices, education, wildfires and the state's high cost of living pillars of his campaign.
  • As for reproductive rights, Dahle personally opposes abortion, but he said abortion services would remain in California if he were elected because of the Democratic majority in the state legislature.

To see endorsements for state and federal races from a variety of local groups, we've compiled this list.

San Francisco's district attorney race

In the coming weeks, voters will decide if Brooke Jenkins, the mayor-appointed district attorney, will retain her role as San Francisco's top prosecutor.

The front-runners: Jenkins and her opponent Joe Alioto Veronese are widely considered the more moderate candidates, while John Hamasaki skews progressive.

  • Both Hamasaki and Alioto Veronese are civil rights attorneys who formerly served on the police commission, the body that oversees the San Francisco Police Department.
  • Jenkins, who has served as the city's DA since July, was an outspoken critic of former DA Chesa Boudin and became an important member of the recall effort against him.

By the numbers: Jenkins is leading the fundraising race so far, with $126,564 in donations, followed by Hamasaki with $87,044 and Alioto Veronese with $56,472, per the latest campaign filings.

San Francisco's District 6 supervisor race

The race for District 6 supervisor is poised to be a close one.

The front-runners: Mayor London Breed-appointed incumbent Matt Dorsey, who formerly led communications for the San Francisco Police Department, and Honey Mahogany, who worked as an aide to former D6 Supervisor Matt Haney.

  • Mahogany is a transgender activist and former contestant on the TV show "RuPaul's Drag Race." She would be the first transgender supervisor in San Francisco if elected.
  • Dorsey is openly gay, HIV-positive and in recovery for substance abuse.

What they're saying: If elected, Mahogany told Axios, she'd prioritize increasing 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."

  • Dorsey, meanwhile, told Axios: "The issues around drug overdoses, open-air drug scenes, drug dealing" are what "moved [his] heart" to want to represent D6.
  • Since his June appointment, he's introduced multiple bills to address drug-related issues, including "Right to Recovery" and "Sober New Deal."

We've put together this list so you can see how local groups are voting on San Francisco races, including the school board and other supervisor elections.

State and local propositions

Illustration of a pattern of checkmarks that turn into question marks and vice versa, over a red and blue background with a pattern of ballot elements.
Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

There are seven statewide propositions, though the two focused on sports betting (Props. 26 and 27) are perhaps getting the most notice.

Catch up quick: Proposition 26 would legalize in-person betting at all tribal casinos and four private horse-racing tracks. Revenue would go toward problem gambling prevention and mental health (15%), gambling enforcement (15%), and the state's general fund (70%).

  • Meanwhile, Proposition 27 would legalize online sports betting across the state, with revenue going toward fighting homelessness (85%) and to tribes that don't participate in gaming (15%).

The backdrop: Prop. 27, in particular, has been the focus of most parties' attention — and money — pitting operators like FanDuel and DraftKings against Native American tribes, who would no longer enjoy exclusive gaming rights in the state if it passes.

  • $350 million has been spent on ad campaigns for ($170 million) and against ($180 million) Prop. 27, per Politico, shattering the state's record for a single proposition ($224 million on 2020's Prop. 22 on app-based drivers' employment status).
  • Both major parties in California have opposed Prop 27, with Democrats and Republicans standing with the Native American tribes.

Meanwhile, there are 14 local propositions, but two topics — housing and what to do with JFK Drive — have dueling measures on this November's ballot.

Catch up quick: Prop. D (backed by Mayor London Breed) and Prop. E (authored by D1 Supervisor Connie Chan) both aim to streamline affordable housing projects in San Francisco.

  • Prop. I and Prop. J, on the other hand, both deal with the future of JFK Drive and whether it should open to car traffic.

The intrigue: If rival measures both pass, the proposition that receives the most votes will win.

To see endorsements from local groups spanning the political spectrum, we've combed through voter guides and put this list together for you.


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