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Monday, September 24, 2012

Norman Yee: Are Voters Confusing Him With Leland Yee?

Posted By on Mon, Sep 24, 2012 at 3:59 PM

This is Leland Yee...
  • This is Leland Yee...

In the abysmal 1992 flick The Distinguished Gentleman, a character played by Eddie Murphy ascends to higher office thanks to having the same name as a longtime office-holder.

Could it happen here? Perhaps. District 7 Supervisorial candidate Norman Yee turned heads when early polls gave him 24 percent of the vote -- better than runners-up Mike Garcia and F.X. Crowley combined. While it's not shocking for school board president Yee to be in first place, this is a big lead. And there may be an explanation for it -- one that offers a tangible answer to Shakespeare's query of "What's in a name?"

Voters may be confusing Norman Yee with former supervisor, mayoral candidate, and current state Sen. Leland Yee.

...And this is Norman Yee
  • ...And this is Norman Yee

"We think that's happening," says Garcia. "We've asked people to name

other members of the board of education. And they don't seem to know

anybody." Crowley adds that he has personally witnessed voters mistake

Norman Yee for Leland Yee at District 7 debates.

Norman Yee has not yet returned messages from SF Weekly.

David Latterman, a moderate consultant and pollster working for Garcia, said "it's not even a question" if Norman Yee is benefiting from his last name. "That is an active concern in the campaign and one that is borne out to some extent by polling," he says. "His name recognition is very high -- as high as well-known city political figures."

As such, Latterman says that Norman Yee -- something of a lefty by District 7 standards -- is doing remarkably well, even in the more conservative enclaves of conservative District 7.

It's a development that may be most frustrating to Crowley. "This is the reason I brought Leland in, to announce that I'm his No. 1."

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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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