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California Elections: Senate District 11

Senate District 11

All Districts > SD11: San Francisco
[incumbent: Scott D. Wiener (D-San Francisco) - term limit: 2028 - Directory Page]

Probable Candidates: 2020

District Projection: Safe Democratic
  • (i) Scott Wiener (Democratic) - State Senator  
  • Jackie Fielder (Democratic) - Educator/Nonprofit Organizer  
  • Erin Smith ( (Republican) - ) - Small Business Owner  
  • (i) = incumbent

    Until the filing period closes, candidates who have made gestures to a run are included. Some of these may not run, while others are likely to jump in.


    You can't say that State Senator and former San Francisco supervisor Scott Wiener (D) has taken a back-bench during his first term in the Legislature. He has had bills enacted to allow pharmacists to provide preexposure prophylaxis and postexposure prophylaxis drugs to prevent HIV infection and expand registered domestic partnerships beyond seniors, proposed keeping bars in certain cities open until 4am, and had a tough fight to force cities to provide higher density housing near public transit and job corridors. Those are just efforts in the last two years, the second half of his first term.

    Senate District 11 contains all of San Francisco as well as the San Mateo County cities of Colma and Daly City. As a Senate district (1/40), it is larger than House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's CA12 (1/53).

    At 57.76% Democratic Party and only 6.92% Republican Party registration, SD11 currently has the third largest Democratic advantage over Republicans among the 40 State Senate districts -- D+50.84. Additionally, many of the No Party Preference voters lean heavily left, as evident in the district performance. In 2016, Hillary Clinton received 85% to President Donald Trump's 10% and in the 2018 gubernatorial, Governor Gavin Newsom garnered 85.7% to Republican businessman John Cox's 13.3%.

    In the 2016 general, Wiener defeated fellow supervisor Jane Kim (D) 51-49% to succeed Mark Leno (D) for the seat. Wiener was considered the "establishment" candidate while Kim was considered the "progressive." This is San Francisco. In almost every other part of the state, Wiener would be considered a liberal progressive.

    In March, there were three candidates -- Wiener, Jackie Fielder (D), and Erin Smith (R). Since I wrote about the voter registration above, it comes as no surprise that Wiener and Fielder will be facing off in November. Smith received 11.1% in the blanket primary. Wiener captured 55.7% and Fielder received 33.2% to advance to the general.

    Wiener is a graduate of Harvard Law School and moved to San Francisco in 1997 to work at a private firm in litigation before joining the city attorney's office in 2002 and was active in local Democratic Party politics.

    In the primary, Mission Local wrote:

    She's 25 and of Mexican and indigenous (Lakota and Hidatsa) descent. She's a lecturer at San Francisco State University's ethnic studies department. To supplement her income, she's served at restaurants and tended bar. When she's not crashing on her friends' couches, she's sleeping in her 1994 Toyota Previa minivan. She's also openly queer and a member of the Democratic Socialists of America.

    "...Fielder's character profile, her story, and the fact that she's taking on Wiener, whose second term was a foregone conclusion before Fielder entered the race, has energized San Francisco progressives, with many drawing the comparison to Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), the millennial-aged Latinx Democratic Socialist who herself upset a powerful incumbent in 2018.

    "I feel like Jackie is our AOC," said Sam Lew, a policy director at the Coalition on Homelessness who managed the successful 2018 Prop. C campaign, a homeless funding measure and a major progressive victory.

    Basically with Wiener and Fielder, we have left and lefter, perfectly fitting for San Francisco.

    In the primary Wiener spent $595,732 from January 1, 2020 through February 15, 2019, the last report before the primary. He ended 2/15 with $1,046,863 cash on hand. After announcing in December 2019, Fielder spent $104,023 and ended the pre-election filing period with a net $57,576.

    Clearly, Wiener will dominate in fundraising and starts with an enormous cash advantage. However, he knows that he has to take Fielder seriously in an activist political environment in a city that thrives on protest. Of course, November will be an all-mail election, which favors Wiener who will likely have far more television spots and mail pieces than Fielder will be able to afford.

    A big question about November of course beyond the already-made decision of an all-mail with vote centers election is the other changes that COVID-19 could force on us. Will traditional door-to-door get out the vote take place like we saw on March 3, which would help Fielder with her activist base who will replace money with labor? Or, will it be like the May 12 special elections in CA25 and SD28, which were all-mail and vote center while residents were on stay-at-home orders limiting nearly all in-person voter contact?

    We know that on December 7 a State Senator who is a Democrat will be sworn in to SD11. I'd give Wiener the edge given the primary results and the fact that most Republicans likely will either get behind him or not vote in the race. That said, this is San Francisco in arguably the most politically volatile year of the 21st Century. It'll be interesting to watch.

    Rating: Safe Democratic
    Updated: 2020-06-16

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    District Geography

    Counties: San Francisco (89.5%), San Mateo (10.5%) of 558,944 registered voters.

    2018 Gubernatorial Race

    • Gavin Newsom (D) 85.7%
    • John Cox (R) 14.3%

    2016 Presidential Race

    • Hillary Clinton (D) 85.0%
    • Donald Trump (R) 10.0%

    2014 Gubernatorial Race

    • Edmund G. ("Jerry") Brown, Jr. (D) 87.7%
    • Neel Kashkari (R) 12.3%

    2012 Presidential Race

    • Barack Obama (D) 83.1%
    • Mitt Romney (R) 13.6%


    2010 Census Demographics for SD11
    Citizen Voting-Age Population 31.1% 6.6% 11.1%
    Total Population 36.1% 5.7% 16.3%

    The Bench (likely future candidates)