John Avalos made a great showing for San Francisco's progressives last night in the SF Mayor's race. Sady, the early vote totals, history and our ranked-choice voting system show no chance for him to win the math-driven runoff process.
Had Dennis Herrera hit 20 percent or so, he'd have a strong chance of pulling into a lead over Mayor Lee, as other moderate-to-liberal candidates' were eliminated and their supporter's second and third-choice votes reallocated to Herrera, a more centrist candidate. With just 11 percent of early totals, it will be impossible for Herrera to pull ahead either, before Lee crosses 50 percent of qualified ballots. Many ballots will be elimated for not having any of the top two finishers on them.
Two past elections show how this goes. In 2003, Matt Gonzalez, a Green Party member at the time and a candidate very similar in ideological profile and voter support to Avalos, secured 19.57 percent of the vote in a traditional runoff scenariod, only to lose to Gavin Newsom in a runoff, garnering 47.19 percent of the vote. In a ranked-choice scenario, Newsom would have won outright.
In 2010, Malia Cohen in Supervisor District 10 showed how SF-style RCV really works in a highly contested, multi-candidate race. After a statistical tie with her more left-wing opponent, she won after 20 rounds of RCV with 4,321 votes. More than half of the ballots were not eligible for the final runoff.
Lee, Pak, Brown and Conway win this one.