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Thursday, September 28, 2023

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News + PoliticsElectionsThe Nancy Pelosi factor in SF politics

The Nancy Pelosi factor in SF politics

It appears the GOP will take the House. If Pelosi then steps down, which she probably will, SF will see a mad political scramble for that seat.


The outcome of the Congressional race in San Francisco, of course, is not and never was in doubt: Nancy Pelosi will be re-elected. But the outcome of the national House races, which at this point look like a Republican majority, could have a huge impact on San Francisco politics.

If the GOP takes the house, Pelosi would be, at best, minority leader, and there would be some who say that the party needs new leadership. She is clearly deeply upset (for good reason) at the attack on her husband, which amounts to an attempted kidnapping of the Speaker of the House. And she’s suggested that she might not serve another term.

Will Speaker Pelosi step down?

If she resigns after the election, that would trigger a special election for one of the most prized spots in San Francisco politics, a safe seat in Congress that the winner could easily hold for another 30 years.

There will be no lack of candidates.

State Sen. Scott Wiener would clearly be a candidate. So, by all accounts, would Pelosi’s daughter, Christine. She has the family name, but has never held elective office and has been entirely missing from local politics for decades.

I would be surprised if no progressive gets into the race.

It will be a mad dash, 120-day race, where fundraising and name-recognition will be critical. And the long-term impacts could be dramatic.

If Christine Pelosi wins, we can expect her to do what her mom did: Stay in Washington, mostly stay out of local politics, and try to be a chief party fundraiser to advance in the House.

If Wiener wins, he will become the de facto head of the Democratic Party in the city and will use his considerable influence to attempt to shift the city’s politics to the right.

Wiener would also vacate his state Senate seat, which would set off another mad-dash race in another special election. If, say, Assemblymember Matt Haney (who seems to have no problem with job-hopping) ran and won, it would open up his seat. If one of the supes runs and wins, that will give the mayor another appointment.

That person would then have to face the voters again in the next regular election, which might not be until 2024.

This is, as Politico noted, a “political earthquake” for San Francisco. And it will start Wednesday morning.

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Tim Redmond
Tim Redmond
Tim Redmond has been a political and investigative reporter in San Francisco for more than 30 years. He spent much of that time as executive editor of the Bay Guardian. He is the founder of 48hills.

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