As the tapas grew stale and the wine bottles remained sealed, District 9  Supervisor candidate Eva Royale hit an unexpected challenge at her campaign’s Thursday night “meet and greet.”

There were no undecided voters to meet — and barely any supporters to greet.

“Well, you know, I think there was a Giants game tonight,” Royale said before trailing off, trying to explain the lack of a crowd.

Royale had planned to give a speech, but without a crowd to address, she talked to the handful of friends who trickled into the reception at Gold Key Realty on Valencia St.

“It’s fine,” said Phyllis Nelson, who manages Royale’s campaign schedule, as she spoke among empty chairs. “We would like to see more people, but this is just fine.”

Royale, who has spent more than two decades working for San Francisco-based labor and nonprofit groups, is one of six candidates in the supervisor’s race. She is the only female running, and while not considered a front-runner, she was endorsed by Mayor Gavin Newsom and has developed support among women in the district.

But there was little evidence of that Thursday. Royale supporter Peter Gallegos, who organized the event, said that many Royale supporters had other commitments. Campaign manager Antonio Salazar-Hobson suggested that some had probably attended the Mission Neighborhood Health Center’s 40th anniversary celebration instead.

“I don’t think Peter realized when he planned this event that there would be that scheduling conflict,” Salazar-Hobson said.

In fact, Royale too had to be there when it started in two hours.

No matter. Campaign staffers optimistically pointed to a neighborhood walk-through with Newsom later this month. There, they hope to encounter more undecided voters than were present at Thursday’s event, they said.

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Founder/Executive Editor. I’ve been a Mission resident since 1998 and a professor emeritus at Berkeley’s J-school since 2019 when I retired. I got my start in newspapers at the Albuquerque Tribune in the city where I was born and raised. Like many local news outlets, The Tribune no longer exists. I left daily newspapers after working at The New York Times for the business, foreign and city desks. Lucky for all of us, it is still there.

As an old friend once pointed out, local has long been in my bones. My Master’s Project at Columbia, later published in New York Magazine, was on New York City’s experiment in community boards.

Right now I'm trying to figure out how you make that long-held interest in local news sustainable. The answer continues to elude me.

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