Republicans in Last-Minute Push to Elect Rob Black

by Paul Hogarth on November 1, 2006

In danger of losing control of Congress, Republicans nationwide are warning that if Democrats win, “San Francisco values” will govern the country. But that hasn’t stopped them from getting involved in San Francisco politics – as part of Karl Rove’s infamous “72 Hour Strategy” to get out the Republican vote. The Republican Party has stepped into the District 6 Supervisors’ race, and has sent a mailing to Party members urging the defeat of Chris Daly – while promoting challengers Rob Black and Matt Drake. Mike Antonini, a Republican Central Committee member and San Francisco Planning Commissioner, has even sent an e-mail asking people who regularly have cases in front of the Commission to contribute to Rob Black’s campaign.

On October 31, the local Republican Party sent out a mailer claiming that Chris Daly is “clearly out of touch with the people of San Francisco.” The piece highlights Daly’s support for four San Francisco ballot measures — Proposition E (the Parking Tax that will help pay for Muni), Proposition F (Paid Sick Leave for S.F. Workers), Proposition G (Public Hearing Requirement for Chain Stores) and Proposition H (Relocation Assistance for Evicted Tenants.) The mailer presents an easy-to-read grid showing that Black, Drake and the San Francisco Republican Party all “oppose” these four measures. The implication is clear – Republicans want their voters to choose Rob Black or Matt Drake.

With this piece, the S.F. Republican Party claims to have “exposed” Chris Daly’s “ultra-liberal agenda that he is trying to push on the Board of Supervisors.” But Daly’s campaign strategy suggests that he actually wants District 6 voters to know that he does not support the Republican agenda. The Daly campaign has even paid for several billboards throughout the district with a simple message – “Compare and Decide: Democrats Endorse Chris Daly, Republicans Endorse Matt Drake.”

Republican Mike Denunzio, who is running for Congress against Nancy Pelosi, was on Fox News October 18th to speak about his candidacy. In a brief interview on “Hannity and Colmes,” DeNunzio explained that “San Francisco values” are “not American values,” as he parroted the Republican Party line on the War on Terror and chided San Franciscans for supporting the impeachment of George Bush. This finally led a baffled Alan Colmes to ask Denunzio – why do you want to represent San Francisco in the U.S. Congress if you don’t agree with “San Francisco values?”

The Republican mailer was clearly targeted only for the District’s 3,000 registered Republicans. But District 6 has 13,000 voters, the overwhelming majority of whom have consistently supported progressive ballot measures, and George Bush has twice failed to win a single precinct in San Francisco. Daly’s strategy of advertising the same message on billboards — which far more voters will read — shows a broader effort at reaching out to District 6 voters than a targeted mailer to get out just the Republican vote.

Late on October 31, an e-mail from San Francisco Planning Commissioner Mike Antonini (who is also an elected member of the Republican County Central Committee) emerged that was addressed to various developer attorneys. “I am very encouraged by recent polls that show Rob Black running ahead of Chris Daly in the race for District 6 Supervisor,” he wrote. “We have a golden opportunity, in this election, to take a giant step in helping San Francisco to realize its potential as the business (small and large) friendly, neighborhood rights respectful, pro-growth yet preservation-sensitive, family-friendly, anti-crime, home-ownership welcoming City we all know it can and should be.”

The e-mail specifically invites recipients to attend a fundraiser for Rob Black on the night of Thursday, November 2 at Jack Falstaff Restaurant in SOMA. For a Planning Commissioner to fundraise among real estate attorneys who have business in front of the Planning Commission should raise questions. Whereas Antonini is not someone who would intentionally use his status as Planning Commission as fundraising leverage, his e-mail shows how vital Black’s election is to the Republican Party.

Now the Republican Party claims that Chris Daly – not them – is “out of touch with the people of San Francisco” when their own local Congressional candidate went on Fox News to denounce “San Francisco values.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: Prior to joining Beyond Chron this year, Paul Hogarth endorsed Chris Daly for re-election and contributed $100 to his campaign. He has volunteered for Daly – but on his own time, not during regular working hours, and not in any advisory capacity. Send feedback to paul@thclinic.org

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