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SF Districts 2, 10 Supes Races Finally Called

Candidate Malia Cohen uses the Chinese name Kuo Han on Chinese language ballots
//yeti-cir-test.s3.amazonaws.com/uploaded/images/2010/11/malia-cohen/original/Malia Cohen.jpg
Candidate Malia Cohen uses the Chinese name Kuo Han on Chinese language ballots
A newcomer scores an upset

The votes are finally tallied, and San Francisco’s District 2 and District 10 finally have new superivisors. Mark Farrell in District 2 and and Malia Cohen in 10 won their races.

Their main opponents, Janet Reilly and Tony Kelly, conceded defeat Tuesday, as officials wrapped up the process of tabulating the city’s ranked-choice voting results two weeks after the election.

Farrell’s victory capped a remarkable upset by a relative newcomer to politics over the presumed frontrunner Reilly, who had previously run unsuccessfully for the state assembly. She boasted a long roll of A-list endorsements, from Governor-elect Jerry Brown to former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Sen. Dianne Feinstein.

Reilly led in initial first-place votes, but ultimately fell to Farrell during the run-off elimination process, as more second-place votes transferred to her opponent.

In the final days of the race, both sides began to sling mud. Farrell's supporters claimed in unsubstantiated mailers that Supervisor Chris Daly — who is anathema to much of the city’s most conservative ward — was the “man behind the curtain” of Reilly’s campaign. Reilly criticized Farrell’s campaign for taking donations from the city elite — including “yacht-owning” real estate investor Thomas J. Coates — despite the Reillys’ own considerable wealth.

In an e-mail to supporters, Farrell, an investment banker and attorney with centrist political views, thanked his opponents, his political allies, his campaign team and his family.

“While it was a long campaign and ultimately a close election, I am both honored and excited to represent the residents of District 2, and look forward to working to return common sense, fiscal discipline and neighborhood leadership back to City Hall,” he wrote Tuesday.

In conceding defeat, Reilly issued a barbed e-mail to her supporters that did not once mention Farrell by name.

“In my own race, an independent expenditure committee armed with $230,000 leveled an 11th-hour smear campaign against me,” Reilly wrote. “They violated a litany of election laws while peddling gross distortions and outright lies. This is simply wrong. Actions like this deter many good people from public service.”

In District 10, Cohen similarly benefited from the ranked-choice voting mechanism, which encompasses the Bayview and Potrero Hill neighborhoods.

After the initial vote count, Cohen was in fourth place, with 11.73 percent of the district’s first-place votes in a highly fractured 21-person field. She steadily move up as other candidates were eliminated.

Tony Kelly, the only candidate whose final vote tally approached Cohen's, said he was preparing to concede the race for District 10 even before the Elections Department posted updated ranked-choice voting results on Tuesday.

Kelly is a theater professional who moved to San Francisco in the 1980s and became active in a broad range of issues affecting Potrero Hill and nearby neighborhoods, such as efforts to close a polluting power plant.

"I am certainly going to continue working in the neighborhood for what I think is important," Kelly told The Bay Citizen Monday.

Aside from Kelly, Cohen narrowly defeated Marlene Tran, whose strong challenge reflected the ascendency of Asian Americans moving into the Bayview and Visitacion Valley, while the city’s black population has dwindled.

Additional reporting was provided by staff reporter John Upton.

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