What Will Happen to District 9 if David Campos Moves to Sacramento in 2014?

Photo by San Francisco LGBT Community Center

It's been an open secret for over a year that Mission/Bernal Supervisor David Campos intends to run for the California State Assembly in 2014, attempting to follow the footsteps former District 9 Supervisor Tom Ammiano, who will be termed-out of his Assembly seat next cycle.

Campos has been steadily building up his campaign operation this year, despite running unopposed for a second term as Supervisor.  Campos has reportedly raised $79,823 this election cycle, almost triple the $28,330 he raised in his hotly contested 2008 campaign. He even brought on political consultant Jim Stearns—who runs Ammiano's Assembly campaigns—to help manage his uncontested Supervisor race.  Stearns himself admits to Mission Local the campaign is little more than a PR campaign designed to “expand his base”:

A strong campaign is also a way for Campos to promote himself and his accomplishments. “He wants to communicate some of the things he’s got done and some of the things he wants to do,” says Jim Stearns, Campos’ consultant on both campaigns and president of Stearns Consulting.

Inspiring and organizing volunteers has been one of Campos’ strengths as a politician from the first campaign, says Stearns. A large part of the fundraising effort is an attempt to “expand his base” throughout the Mission and the city at large, especially given the recent addition of part of the Portola neighborhood to the district.

However, for all the fawning reportage Mission Local does on our Supervisor, they neglect to hold him accountable for the likely fallout of his own ambition.

One only has to look at the mess in District 5 to get a preview of what could very-well happen here.  If Campos is elected to higher office, then Mayor Ed Lee will be responsible for appointing someone to fill the seat.  But unlike the 10 months District 5 Lee-appointee Christina Olague had with her constituents before an election, Lee's appointee in District 9 would have nearly two years to build roots and establish credibility—providing a solid incumbent advantage going into the election.

Considering how many of Olague's votes are out of step with her predecessor's—and therefore her constituent's—views, one can only imagine what an Ed Lee appointee would mean for the future of District 9's proud progressive bent.

Many wonks are unsure who Lee might pick to lead District 9 forward, but the smart money is on Gillian Gillett, former legislative aid to Supervisor Scott Wiener and Ed Lee's Director of Transportation Policy.  Alternatively, but seemingly less likely, Mayor Lee could have someone from outside the District move in over the next year or two, thus allowing him to appoint whomever he wishes.

How does Campos feel about the future of his District?  Since he's running unopposed, we're left to assume it's the canned response for which he's famous—no comment.

Comments (9)

Ah Campos, using the public’s money to enrich himself and his cronies. I hear David Chiu might run for the seat. Who knows maybe even an ADULT will run. It’s not like progressives do well beyond Supervisor anyway. Ammiano was an exception because he’d run for Mayor several times and is a living legend of SF politics (also, a loyal Muni rider!). Campos is just another flaky selfish “progressive” who cares only for his own enrichment and engages in sleazy politics.

Gillian would be a good choice because she is smart, honest and a responsible adult. Naturally whatever is left of the progs will flip the fuck out and want some other minion of theirs appointed. Like it really matters since progressives always lose, unless they run, Soviet style, with no opposition!

Rather than lambasting Campos for wanting to rep the SF at the State level (I personally think he’d be an awesome successor to Ammiano’s seat, much as he was for District 9), I think the more constructive ire should be directed at the fact that the Mayor is picking the successors to Supervisors seats at all! In a city with a Charter that makes the Mayor one stop short of God in terms of unchecked power, the fact that he’s responsible for picking the people who are supposed to be his legislative check and balance is not surprising but certainly galling.

If Campos is indeed going to run for Assembly in two years that gives voters the same amount of time to mount a campaign to take the decision of who represents the city’s residents on the board out of the mayors hands and into the peoples.


Want to throw in another “sounds great” for Gillian. She’s smart, measured, thoughtful, and has personally driven a lot of great change in our neighborhood. If she was a candidate, I would absolutely back her.

The district will better off without him, at least it won’t be any worse. He hasn’t really said or done a damn thing about the protester vandalism or the violent crime and gang violence.

I kinda have the feeling that Ed Lee would give the job to Joaquin Torres or Luis Figueroa before Gillian Gillett - but what do I know?

There is no there there. Its just like the great great great grandson of George Washington. He inherited his clothes and wears them cheaply. If I’m wrong and he’s playing chess, great. But unlikely.

Gillian Gillet would be a *gift* to District 9. If I still lived there, I would vote for her without hesitation, even if she wasn’t appointed by the mayor. She is a smart woman that truly cares about the neighborhood

Also, Campos is an idiot.

Campos has been a terrific Supervisor, and if he ends up in Sacramento I’m sure he will do a great job there, too. I just hope that whoever replaces him here does an equally good job.