Pro-housing stance credited in Haney victory

Supervisor wins heated run-off to represent San Francisco’s eastern half in state legislature

San Francisco /
Apr.April 20, 2022 02:08 PM
Matt Haney and David Campos (Getty)
Matt Haney and David Campos (Getty)

Shortly after his decisive win in a run-off election to represent San Francisco’s eastern half in the state assembly, Supervisor Matt Haney was still tweeting out the pro-housing message he’s been repeating throughout his campaign: “Progressives should be for more housing. Period.”

Then he sent one that seemed to be aimed at his defeated opponent, former Supervisor and current vice chair of the California Democratic Party David Campos: “And progressive candidates should not be Nimbys. Period.”

Housing policy was the defining factor in a hard-fought race that began last year when Assemblymember David Chiu resigned to become San Francisco City Attorney. Chiu was appointed by San Francisco Mayor London Breed, who also supported Haney and now will get to name his successor to the Board of Supervisors.

Haney represents the city’s Tenderloin and South of Market neighborhoods, though his support was spread throughout the city’s eastern half, according to election data. He won the assembly seat with 63 percent of the overall vote, and neighborhoods from Potrero Hill to North Beach to Eureka and Noe Valleys were even more in his favor.

“I was really surprised how [Campos] ran the NIMBY-left playbook–and that is not what San Francisco is,” said Todd David, executive director of the Housing Action Coalition, which supported Haney.

SF YIMBY and the California Association of Realtors were also among Haney’s supporters, and he raised $1.5 million for the campaign, compared with about $950,000 for Campos, who made a campaign promise not to accept corporate donations.

YIMBY had supported Bilal Mahmood in the February special election to replace Chiu, but when he failed to get enough votes to make the run-off it switched its support to Haney, saying that it believed the candidate’s assertion that his opinions had changed on some of his earlier, anti-development stances.

Housing Action Coalition’s executive director David said he is “dubious to curious” to see how Haney’s housing votes in the state legislature will align with his pro-housing rhetoric during the campaign.

“We know through years of polling that housing approvals in San Francisco are incredibly popular,” he said. “When you ask, ‘Do we need more market-rate?’ The answer is, ‘Yes.’ Affordable? Yes. Mixed-use? Yes. We need more of all of the above.”

Campos already had a record of supporting a moratorium on market rate housing in the city’s Mission District from his time as supervisor of the neighborhood. But it was Campos’s decision to back the board’s rejection of a plan to build a nearly 500-unit residential building on a department store parking lot in SoMA, which had a 24 percent affordable component and was approved by the city’s planning commission, that appears to have been a turning point in the campaign.

Haney came out strongly in favor of the construction, which is in his district, and also repeatedly pointed out that most of the housing built in the city recently has been in his district as well.

“The board handed Haney a political gift on a silver platter,” said the Housing Action Coalition’s David. “When he grabbed the mantel of pro-housing, the race was over.”

Because this was a special election to serve the end of Chiu’s term, if Haney wants to hold the Assembly post past 2022 the race actually continues with another primary election this June followed by a general election this fall. But David believes after this sweeping victory, Haney has it in the bag.

“I will be shocked if a credible competitor enters the race,” he said.





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