Assembly Candidate David Campos lost ground to David Chiu today in the newest vote tally by the San Francisco Department of Elections, which was released at 4 p.m.
The Department of Elections is buried in ballots, and will work through next Friday to tally up the 50,000-plus vote-by-mail and provisional votes, department Director John Arntz said.
The tally will be updated at 4 p.m. daily until the final reveal.
The two Davids (Campos and Chiu) are vying for the most watched race in San Francisco: California Assembly District 17. Today's numbers encompass a count of 8,000 additional votes since last night's returns — and now Chiu is leading Campos by 3,049, widening the gap by another 700 votes.
[jump] As of today, Chiu has 47,797 votes so far, and Campos sits at 44,748 votes.
With 50,000 votes not yet counted, the potential for an even closer race increases. We wondered: What are the chances of one of the candidates calling for a recount?
“I don’t want to speculate, I think we’re going to be judicious in our review,” Campos told SF Weekly. “We’ll make a decision based on the numbers as they come in.”
Chiu's campaign consultant Nicole Derse was equally mum. “We haven't determined that,” she said. “We're going to let the results unfold.”
University of San Francisco Professor and Political Consultant Corey Cook told us California has no automatic recount provisions. A recount must be requested by a registered voter and paid for by that voter, or committee. “So who knows?” Cook said, “it would take someone or some committee willing to foot the bill.”
That said, this race is going to end up getting much closer, Cook said, adding that a similar situation played out between the two Davids in the June primary election. The margin narrowed by 1.7 percent between the time the polls closed and the final vote was counted.
“So the margin here is quite close,” Cook said. “But whether it gets close 'enough' for someone to request a recount is tough to gauge.”
The state's last recount was in the June Primary election, called for by controller candidate John Perez who trailed behind opponent Betty Yee by just 481 votes.
The results may show Chiu ahead, but at his election party last night his initial 3 percent lead did not comfort his team. At about 10:20 p.m., an organizer pulled Chiu out of his party and into the hallway. Perched over a laptop, Chiu and his two staffers leaned in to peer over the newest numbers.
To a supporter across the room, Chiu's aide, Judson True, held up a thumb poised sideways. It called back memories of Emperor Commodus in Gladiator before his judgment. Will you die today?
As early results poured in, the two 44-year-old Harvard graduates, both San Francisco supervisors, both named David C., uttered an identical sentiment to their camps.
They are, they said, “cautiously optimistic.”