Ammiano Makes It to S.F. Runnoff
By Jordan Lite
Associated Press Writer
Thursday, Nov. 4, 1999; 8:30 p.m. EST SAN FRANCISCO A liberal city supervisor who staged a last-minute write-in campaign for mayor made it to a runoff against Willie Brown, who is trying to become the first incumbent in 16 years to win re-election.
Tom Ammiano, who launched his campaign from a juice joint just 20 days before Tuesday's election, picked up 44,539 votes, or 25 percent, enough to win a spot in the Dec. 14. runoff. Former Mayor and Police Chief Frank Jordan was third with 29,987 votes, or 17 percent.
Brown had 67,912 votes, or 39 percent.
Moments after election officials announced the latest vote counts Thursday afternoon, Ammiano and his supporters gathered on the steps of City Hall. "Win, Tom, Win," they cheered.
"Here's to a real grass roots effort," said Ammiano, the president of the Board of Supervisors. "This is quite a victory against corporate campaigning."
Earlier, Brown complained that Ammiano's late entry had robbed him of an outright victory and thereby cost taxpayers a lot of money.
"Without Mr. Ammiano in there, I am the mayor of San Francisco as of the day (of the election) and the citizens would have saved hundreds of thousands of dollars," Brown said.
Ammiano's response: "You can't really nickle-dime democracy."
Ammiano's network of volunteers spent a mere $20,000, compared to $2.3 million by Brown and $300,000 by Jordan. Ammiano said he planned to run "a very frugal campaign" for the runoff.
Ammiano, who is gay, draws support from the city's large, politically active gay community and other liberal activists. He may have a tough time going one-on-one against Brown, even though the mayor has been criticized for his handling of transportation, homelessness and other problems.
"There's been a lot of perception of cronyism and back-room deals," Ammiano said. "I've been more into good government and open government, campaign reform. I'm not a miracle man but I think continuing in that vein we might get something."
Brown campaign spokesman P.J. Johnston said the mayor's strategy will be the same in the runoff.
"He's going to continue to make his case that he's best to run this city," Johnston said. "He's brought previously combative forces to work together and runs this city from the center."
© Copyright 1999 The Associated Press