Trauss Trounced in YIMBY Litmus Test

"If you want to build a movement, you have to include everyone," said Matt Haney, who overwhelmingly won the seat of District 6 supervisor, of YIMBYs.

Sonja Trauss, prominent YIMBY leader, lost substantially in her bid to become District 6 supervisor. (Mike Koozmin/S.F. Examiner)

Sonja Trauss, the face of the YIMBY Action, handily lost the election to become District 6 supervisors on Tuesday after more than a year of vying to enact aggressive pro-development policies in City Hall.

Despite what some political insiders surmised at the establishment-heavy John’s Grill Election Day luncheon, Trauss did not win in a squeaker — far from it. With full-throated support from her fellow YIMBYs for more than a year of her campaign, Trauss captured just over 2,500 votes, or nearly 18 percent as of Wednesday afternoon.

Though another YIMBY-backed candidate, Christine Johnson, took in a majority of second-choice votes from Trauss, it wasn’t nearly enough for the ideology to take hold in a district encompassing the Tenderloin, SoMa, Mission Bay, and Treasure Island.

Matt Haney, a school board commissioner, triumphed with 63 percent of the vote to Johnson’s 36 percent with ranked-choice voting taken into account. (The Department of Elections still has about 139,000 ballots to review and process as of Wednesday morning.)

Trauss has not officially made a statement since results rolled in, save for a tweet Wednesday morning stating that, “Matt’s campaign had more money” in a thread commenting on the independent expenditure committees supporting her and Johnson.

“I was surprised the polling was so wrong,” Trauss told the Chronicle, citing three separate polls that suggested a toss-up.

Many took to Twitter to celebrate the steep electoral loss of Trauss and taunt YIMBYs, like EndEvictions tweeting, “Go away forever, Sonja Trauss and her minions.” The Lucy Parsons Project, a group of self-described radical black queer activists, even used Trauss’ frequent housing rhetoric.

 

After dancing onstage at Calle-11 Nightclub to the good news of early returns, Haney felt the double-digit lead showed that District 6 residents, with the help of passionate volunteers, rejected his YIMBY opponents.

“People give [YIMBYs] a lot of attention,” Haney told SF Weekly. “They had nothing like we had. If you want to build a movement, you have to include everyone.”

One volunteer campaigning on Election Day felt that inclusion. Jesse James Johnson stood with a Haney sign on Ellis and Jones streets since 7 a.m., something he’s never done for a politician.

“Matt’s demonstrated to me that he listens, and I think he really cares about the neighborhood,” he told SF Weekly. “I think it’s criminal that the tech billionaires and the mayor are trying to hijack the election. It’s anti-democratic in every way you can imagine. I resent that they’re trying to buy our supervisors’ vote.” 

Until the sentiment that YIMBYs are of the people, by the people takes hold in District 6, Trauss ought not to be so surprised by the abysmal results.

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