How San Francisco Celebrates on Election Night

Somewhere between a really nerdy prom and full-contact sports lies democracy

By Jackson West
|  Wednesday, Jun 9, 2010  |  Updated 3:29 PM PDT
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Inadvertently Passionate Political Gazes

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As in this photo from 2008, Vanessa Getty, right, was on hand for the primary victory of friend Kamala Harris, center.

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Tuesday night in San Francisco, there was a movable feast of options for watching the state and local primary election results available to political nerds. Also, enterprising moochers, politicians and some of all three.

John Dennis, the brave Republican despatched to tangle with Nancy Pelosi's liberal lion in the District 8 congressional circus, had his party at Palio D'Asti, and owner and chef Dan Schroetter set a standard for party snacks that couldn't be matched.

A small party assembled, Dennis arrived with wife and daughter in tow. "What are we going to do?" a supporter asked the young girl. "Beat Pelosi," she shouted with glee. Now that's optimism! And Dennis did win the night against his Republican rival Dana Walsh. 

Show me the election results

The fiscally responsible Young Republicans got together to watch the results roll in from around the country on Fox News. Why fiscally responsible? No free food and drink, which also explains the small size of the event.

With no seating to find, it was off to the Delancey Street Foundation to see if District Attorney Kamala Harris would beat back her primary rival, former Facebook lawyer Chris Kelly.

A who's who of local Democratic Party faithful attended, including elected officials and those who aspire to be. Chatting freely were District 8 hopeful Rebecca Prozan, who works with Harris at the DA's office; DeWitt Lacy, who can count on sartorial flair; and Nate Payne, from the incredibly crowded District 6 race. He already has a campaign ad on YouTube!

Oh, there was a Getty, an Alioto and a Reilly, and lord knows who else. And you want to talk about assurance? Televisions weren't even tuned to the polls, but instead, to the NBA Finals and "Glee," until well past 9 p.m.

Harris took her sweet time to take a victory lap, leaving Sen. Mark Leno of San Francisco vamping to kill time, but buoyed by the plentiful food, the assembled crowd had energy left to cheer the speech.

After that, the small band of misfits that bravely did so very little to counter Pacific Gas and Electric's $46 million bid to practically stifle utility competition from communities gathered at Otis on Maiden Lane to get the biggest real thrill of the night.

After being down all night, the race swung around seven points from Yes on Proposition 16 to No on Proposition 16. Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi was positively giddy, as if he'd just beaten the house in Reno.

Which, in that case, the voters of California kinda did.

Jackson West should have suggested swinging by the Hi-Dive, too. 

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