And Then There Was One

Five races have just one candidate, including some running for the first time.

Races that go unopposed have understandably little fanfare. Incumbents often find themselves in such races but some opponent-less candidates are running for the first time.

The Public Defender’s Office breathed a sigh of relief when Mayor London Breed tapped one of their own, Manohar Raju, in March to carry on the legacy of the late Jeff Adachi, who was a genuine champion of the city’s marginalized. He previously managed the office’s felony unit and has served as a public defender for 18 years. Though he has wide support, he was criticized for praising police — a major adversary of Adachi — for raiding the home of a journalist who obtained a report on his successor’s death. He later walked back his statement, saying it shouldn’t be “interpreted as condoning specific police actions or tactics.”

Ivy Lee, once a legislative aide to former Supervisor Jane Kim, is also up for election unopposed. She is commended for her instrumental work on Free City College, which made San Francisco the first city to make community college free in the nation in 2016. Mayor London Breed appointed her in July 2018 to fill Supervisor Rafael Mandelman’s seat on the City College Board of Trustees. Lee has vowed to make Free City permanent, work to grow the college’s reserves, increase enrollment, and close the achievement gap.


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In another major leadership change for San Francisco’s criminal justice system, Sheriff Vicki Hennessy declined to run for reelection. Her deputy, Paul Miyamoto, is the only one left with his hat in the ring after Lt. Ronald Terry dropped out. He lost to former Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi in 2011 but now faces the challenge of an inmate population displaced from a dilapidated Hall of Justice.

Just because the remaining races have incumbents doesn’t mean it’s worth a refresher of what they’ve done for the city. City Attorney Dennis Herrera was first elected in 2001, guiding the city’s legislative needs. He’s also filed lawsuits against Trump administration efforts like adding a citizenship question to the 2020 Census and worked to reign in scooter companies.

Treasurer Jose Cisneros has held the revenue-collecting role since 2003, and his office has spent the past couple years overseeing a task force that explores how San Francisco would open a public bank.

One more candidate isn’t running unopposed but is the contender far more likely to win: Jenny Lam, Breed’s education adviser tapped in January to fill Supervisor Matt Haney’s former seat on the Board of Education. Her two opponents, SF FILM Development Director Kirsten Strobel and artist Robert Coleman, previously said they were motivated to run after the board unanimously voted to paint over the racist mural at George Washington High School.

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