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Labor's Love Lost: David Campos Rolls with the Unionized Punches 

Tuesday, Aug 26 2014

Now is the summer of David Campos' discontent. The supervisor and aspiring assemblyman's plight may be made glorious come election day in fall. But it will be a grind.

In June's election, Campos came second behind Supervisor David Chiu, setting up a November showdown between the two Davids. In July, fundraising numbers revealed Chiu had an alarming 25-to-1 advantage in cash-on-hand: $500,000 to $20,000.

On the last day of that month, the powerful California Labor Federation shifted its June endorsement of Campos to a November open endorsement — allowing the state's unions to put their time (and money) where they see fit. As a result, the city's Labor Council (whose membership in April voted heavily to support Campos) cannot participate in the forthcoming November election.

How much this will hurt Campos remains to be seen. But, for a candidate attempting to make up ground, it can't help.

On the statewide level, the Labor Federation's switcheroo — a parliamentary maneuver orchestrated by the Chiu-backing building trades and public safety unions — denies Campos the ability to claim the mantle of being "the" labor candidate (both Davids are supported, individually, by a plethora of unions). California unions that would have supported either candidate will, of course, still do so. But now none will feel mandated to.

On the local level, Campos won't have access to the email lists, funding, and logistical support of the San Francisco Labor Council. The building trades unions which, earlier this year, petulantly attempted to undo their brethren's lopsided preference for Campos appear to have belatedly gotten their way.

Both the California Labor Federation and San Francisco Labor Council have been quietly dropped from the endorsement list on Campos' website.

The candidate offered a serene take on these ostensible setbacks. As for the money, he says he figured he'd spend his wad on the June race, rendering the next fundraising report "a low number. ... We are doing pretty well with fundraising."

Losing the overarching labor endorsements, similarly, "isn't a big deal." The unions in his corner are still in his corner. In fact, he sees the loss of that support as "a net plus. This will motivate people to do more than what they were doing."

That's an optimistic spin if ever there was one.

But everyone can agree on one thing: A lot can happen before November.

"Campos has a viable shot," says a longtime city politico dead-set against him. "He's got some sources he can tap into."

"Campos has a viable shot," says a longtime city politico emphatically for him. "It's not a Hail Mary pass."

Whatever the case, a Campos victory will require a great deal of labor.

About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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