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1st African-American woman set to be San Francisco mayor

| Wednesday, June 13, 2018, 6:30 p.m.
In this June 6, 2018 file photo, mayoral candidate and Board of Supervisors President London Breed speaks to reporters in San Francisco. Breed was poised to become the first African-American woman to lead San Francisco following a hard-fought campaign when a former state senator conceded and congratulated her Wednesday,  June 13, more than a week after the election. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)
In this June 6, 2018 file photo, mayoral candidate and Board of Supervisors President London Breed speaks to reporters in San Francisco. Breed was poised to become the first African-American woman to lead San Francisco following a hard-fought campaign when a former state senator conceded and congratulated her Wednesday, June 13, more than a week after the election. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)
Former state Sen. Mark Leno talks with reporters while conceding the race for San Francisco mayor Wednesday, June 13, 2018, in San Francisco. Leno said that he called chief rival London Breed with his congratulations in her new job as mayor. He said Breed was a 'remarkable young woman' who will do a fine job as mayor. (AP Photo/Lorin Eleni Gill)
Former state Sen. Mark Leno talks with reporters while conceding the race for San Francisco mayor Wednesday, June 13, 2018, in San Francisco. Leno said that he called chief rival London Breed with his congratulations in her new job as mayor. He said Breed was a 'remarkable young woman' who will do a fine job as mayor. (AP Photo/Lorin Eleni Gill)
In this file photo taken April 13, 2018, San Francisco mayoral candidate and Board of Supervisors President London Breed poses for a photo at Alamo Square in San Francisco. Breed was poised to become the first African-American woman to lead San Francisco following a hard-fought campaign when a former state senator conceded and congratulated her Wednesday,  June 13, more than a week after the election. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File)
In this file photo taken April 13, 2018, San Francisco mayoral candidate and Board of Supervisors President London Breed poses for a photo at Alamo Square in San Francisco. Breed was poised to become the first African-American woman to lead San Francisco following a hard-fought campaign when a former state senator conceded and congratulated her Wednesday, June 13, more than a week after the election. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File)

SAN FRANCISCO — London Breed was poised to become the first African-American woman to lead San Francisco following a hard-fought campaign when a former state senator conceded and congratulated her Wednesday, more than a week after the election.

Breed, president of the Board of Supervisors, was leading Mark Leno by fewer than 1,900 votes Tuesday with about 245,000 ballots tallied and at least 9,000 ballots left to count. Her lead has been increasing since Saturday.

The elections office was set to release an updated tally at 4 p.m. Wednesday.

Leno told reporters crammed into his tiny print shop that he had a positive conversation and that Breed was gracious.

"She is a remarkable young woman and she is going to do a very fine job. Her success is San Francisco's success," he said.

Breed's campaign had no immediate comment, but she is expected to comment later Wednesday.

Leno, 66, did not rule out a future run for office. In his remarks, he thanked fellow candidates, especially Supervisor Jane Kim, who joined with him in pushing a more liberal agenda. And he thanked voters for exceeding low turnout expectations.

Turnout exceeded 50 percent, which is higher than usual for recent June gubernatorial primaries and mayoral elections.

"This was a campaign about change, a campaign about the betterment of the great city of San Francisco," he said.

Jason McDaniel, associate political science professor at San Francisco State University, said Breed, 43, gained votes in Tuesday's count in areas that were supposed to favor Leno.

"It is almost impossible to imagine Leno getting enough votes from the remaining uncounted ballots," he said.

San Francisco is remarkably wealthy thanks to an economy boosted by the tech sector, but it also has deep pockets of poverty and an entrenched problem with homelessness.

Despite a compelling personal story that showed her as an underdog, Breed was the favorite of the business and political establishment communities going into the contest. Mayor Ed Lee died in December, setting off a race that was not supposed to occur until next year.

Breed raised the most money of the three leading candidates with the help of big contributions from big backers, at least $2.3 million to her political campaign committee and two other committees that supported her.

She faced spirited opposition from Leno and Kim, who said that Breed represented the status quo that had made San Francisco so inequitable. All three are Democrats.

The portrayals of her as a lackey bugged Breed.

"I ask people to not attribute what I've done —my success and how hard I've worked— to not reduce that or attribute that to someone else," Breed told the AP in a pre-election interview.

The former executive director of the African American Art & Culture Complex grew up in the historically black Western Addition, raised by her grandmother in public housing. They drank powdered milk and ate meat from a can labeled "pork," she said.

Breed consistently maintained her lead in first-place votes, but San Francisco uses a unique ranked-choice voting system that allows voters to pick their top three for mayor.

Breed has 50.42 percent of the vote, including nearly 37 percent of first-place votes.

Breed will have to run in the November 2019 election for a four-year term.

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