Mayor Gavin Newsom yesterday succeeded in his long quest to get out of San Francisco politics, handily winning his race for lieutenant governor -- and leaving an unknown and yet-to-be-determined successor to humiliate the mayor of Arlington in the pending payoff of his World Series bet.
District Attorney Kamala Harris, meanwhile, is locked in a too-close-to-call race for state attorney general with Republican Steve Cooley. While The Chronicle actually ran a web headline declaring Cooley the winner, returns as of 7:09 a.m. show Harris with a supermodel-thin, 36,000-vote lead. This comes on the heels of Cooley actually declaring victory yesterday, as vote totals throughout the night showed him on top. Well, what a difference a day makes. Cooley's anointment as our next AG by the Chron lasted for all of half an hour, it would seem.
The departure of San Francisco's mayor -- and, possibly, the D.A. -- is certain to ignite a political gladiatorial contest.
While even "Epic Beard Man" once gladly wished to hand Aaron Peskin cash for his mayoral bid, the transformation of the former president of the Board of Supervisors into a progressive pariah appears to have headed off that possibility.
As it stands, it will probably be the current board -- not the one sworn in in January -- that selects the next mayor. Anyone who resides in the city can be named to succeed Newsom; the only stipulation is that supes cannot vote for themselves. Board president David Chiu becomes acting mayor in the event of a deadlock. Chiu is a striver -- and, as you'd expect of a man with three Harvard degrees, wicked smart. He may find a way to make that job stick.
Many procedural questions must be answered before the politicking commences, however. It is still not 100 percent certain that the Board in its current incarnation will be the one selecting the next mayor. And it is also uncertain which mayor -- Newsom or his successor -- would name Harris' potential successor.
Pick your cliches -- knives in the back, tossings under the bus -- and expect plenty of it in San Francisco politics in the coming months.