This is a premature, possibly morbid diary, but should we start thing about a future without Nancy Pelosi? Sooner or later, we Democrats will have a bad election. That is just a fact of American history. We also know that speakers who lose their gavels due to scandal or election losses do not last much longer in Congress, the risk of holding such a lofty post. When that day comes (hopefully no time soon), San Francisco will have a Congressional vacancy for the first time since 1987. The City’s Central Democratic Committee has a very strong “wait your turn” attitude and the Burton Machine still lives, BUT no one is going to want to wait another 20+ for the seat to be open again, so the question is: Who will run when Madame Speaker retires? Here is my short list of possibilities.
1. District Attorney Kamala Harris is young, popular, dynamic and well connected to the Willie Brown machine (get you minds out of the gutter). She has done a good job of keeping her name in the press and face in front of the camera and she is everywhere a group of Democrats are meeting. She would also carry on the tradition of having a female represent the district.
2. Mayor Gavin Newsom may prefer to represent more than 500,000 people at a time, but he has not put enough distance between himself and Tourkgate to run for statewide office. He is still very young and a few effective terms in Congress would allow him to build more national contacts and let memories fade. California has term limits for governor so he can afford to wait it out or even succeed Barbara Boxer in 2016.
3. Assemblyman Mark Leno is a popular figure in San Francisco, likely going to the State Senate next year and a good bet to become the first openly gay Congressman from San Francisco. He’s been effective in Sacramento and there is no reason to believe he would not be effective in Washington.
4. Supervisor Tom Ammiano will likely be elected to the Assembly next year, but his personality rubs a lot of people the wrong way.
5. Board President Aaron Peskin and Supervisor are ambitious, but can they appeal to the city at large?
6. Assemblywoman Fiona Ma is strongly connected to the Burton Machine. Could she become the City’s first Asian-American Rep.? Leland Yee? My gut tells me Phil Ting has a better shot.
Any names you want to share?