She was across the street, curly blonde locks tucked beneath a snow white cap, flowing down her shoulders, bright teeth matching the hue of the hat on a cold rainy night. It was just close to poll’s close. She raised her arm and accosted me.
“Excuse me, do you know where the polling place is?”
“Who are you voting for?” I asked.
“I’ll personally escort you there myself.”
But, hey, I would have done it even if she was voting for Newsom. She was a cutie. No. Get that boat back into rational rivulets. She was a voter.
There aren’t election results up yet, but it’s looking pretty good for Gonzalez. I’ve learned that Gavin Newsom sent somewhere in the area of 150,000 abentee applications to potential voters. This despite a Clinton and a Gore endorsement. I’ve never heard of a candidate ever resorting to anything like this.
But just to be safe, I’ve conducted an informal poll among people who are, what I would call, traditional Democrats.
The publisher of a major magazine: “Gonzalez. Begrudgingly.”
A Gore voter with a pragmatic reactionary tilt: “Well, I had to vote for Matt after eight years of Brown.”
Even a person who’s normally apolitical confessed that he’s voting for Gonzalez.
Gonzalez has a momentum here that Ammiano didn’t have back in ’99. It was a hell of a coup to get people to write Tom Ammiano’s name onto the ballot and get him in the runoff. But the minute the runoff went down, momentum shifted. People became painfully aware of Ammiano’s limitations and were willing to let the pragmatic Democrats west of Twin Peaks have the final say.
But not this time. The Financial District signs are split evenly between Gonzalez and Newsom. Pragmatism has shifted. People are hungry for something new. Different. Honest. I suspect the fact that Newsom has never appeared in a photograph with his hair tousled in any way has something to do with it. What were the Newsom people thinking?
I’m amazed to say that it may actually happen tonight. 82% of San Francisco voted against the recall. We do things differently here. And we could be the first city in the United States with a Green Party mayor. If it does go down, I’ll be very proud to be a San Franciscan. Very proud to be part of a movement that tells the nation, “Politics doesn’t have to be an unctuous business. Sometimes, under special circumstances, you can have results.”
UPDATE: We lost. But it was fun ride. Tim Redmond calculates that Newsom spent $34 a vote to Gonzalez’s $4. It’s still a respectable showing.