San Francisco mayor claims election victory

San Francisco mayor London Breed speaks to Rosa Parks Elementary School students during the Great California Shakeout Earthquake Drill on October 17, 2019 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — San Francisco Mayor London Breed claimed victory Tuesday night in municipal elections while voters appeared to be snubbing out a bid to overturn a city ban on e-cigarette sales.

Breed was ahead of five little-known challengers with some 60 percent of the votes when she declared victory about 90 minutes after the polls closed.

“Thank you for honoring me with four more years as mayor!” she told a cheering crowd, adding: “I grew up in this city and in poverty and I never thought that in my life that I would have the opportunity to serve in this capacity.”

Breed has been in office since winning a special election last year following the sudden death of Mayor Ed Lee. She was seeking her first four-year term.

Voters also took up Proposition C, which was put on the ballot by e-cigarette maker Juul Labs. The measure would have overturned a new city law to ban sales of e-cigarettes until they have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Early results showed the “no” votes with an insurmountable lead.

San Francisco-based Juul dumped $12 million into the campaign before halting financial support two months ago.

“Make no mistake, this was yet another clear repudiation of Big Tobacco’s e-cigarettes,” said James P. Steyer, CEO of Common Sense, a nonprofit that opposed the proposition. “It sends a national message to Juul that we won’t sit idly by while they addict a new generation to nicotine with kid-friendly flavors, high-tech gadgets, and manipulative marketing.”

Breed is the first African American woman elected mayor of San Francisco, a politically liberal city of nearly 890,000 grappling with high housing costs, an increase in homelessness and a drug crisis.

The former president of the Board of Supervisors was raised by her grandmother in the city’s public housing and has made equity a priority in a city that has become deeply inequitable. She wants to build housing and provide more shelter and services for people who are homeless, addicted to drugs or have a mental illness.

The mayor said in an interview with The Associated Press before the election that she is frustrated by people who want more housing but don’t want more units in their neighborhood.

“We want more housing, and we know we need more housing,” she said. “We can’t have it both ways.”

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