Post-Newsom Political Game Already in Play

Prospect of an interim mayor appointed by supervisors leaves many salivating

By Jackson West
|  Friday, Jun 18, 2010  |  Updated 6:00 PM PDT
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It's one of the odder twists in politics at San Francisco City Hall in some time -- "progressive" politicians who oppose "moderate" Mayor Gavin Newsom rooting hard for him to be elected California's Lieutenant Governor.

Why? Because if Newsom wins, it's off to Sacramento -- and the progressive-leaning Board of Supervisors will get to pick his replacement.

Of course, should Newsom win -- which is still a pretty big if -- his first plan of action will be to extend his swearing-in long enough that a new batch of supervisors would get the chance to pick a replacement.

And of course that political calculation assumes that Newsom-backed candidates in progressive districts like the Tenderloin, SOMA, Haight, Western Addition and Castro win their races.

Though, let's be honest, even if they lose Newsom would probably try to stage a delay just to piss of District 6's Chris Daly, who even though termed out would get to weigh in on the decision as a final act.

But don't think for a moment that all this uncertainty means local politicians are letting the question rest until the matters are decided.

Whomever is appointed would immediately become the front-runner in 2011's mayoral election, and get to serve a year in office as the city's chief executive, an opportunity that no one in the city with political ambitions would pass up.

And there are plenty of of those people. While Board President David Chiu is a favorite, and has the backing of longtime political fixer Rose Pak, a supervisor can't vote for himself and would need six of the ten remaining votes.

State Senators Mark Leno and Leland Yee are also widely rumored to be running for office in 2011, and former Mayor Art Agnos and former Board President Aaron Peskin's names have also come up, among others.

So one thing's for sure -- it is going to be a great season for political theater!

Jackson West is stocking up on popcorn to watch the show from his perch in District 6.

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