If Gavin Newsom beats Abel Maldonado Tuesday in the Lieutenant Governor's race, someone is going to have to finish out his term as San Francisco Mayor. The city's charter states that in the event of a mayoral vacancy, the Board of Supervisors chooses an interim until an election is held:
If the Office of Mayor becomes vacant because of death, resignation, recall, permanent disability or the inability to carry out the responsibilities of the office, the President of the Board of Supervisors shall become Acting Mayor and shall serve until a successor is appointed by the Board of Supervisors.
Any person filling a vacancy pursuant to subsection (a) or (b) of this Section shall serve until a successor is selected at the next election occurring not less than 120 days after the vacancy...
Any successor needs six votes on the Board, no easy task, and speculation about just who will emerge as the consensus candidate has gone on for many months. In May, former mayoral candidate and progressive heartthrob Matt Gonzalez was rumored to be in the running. That never panned out, and in June, the Bay Citizen wrote this piece pegging David Chiu, the Board president, and Aaron Peskin, San Francisco Democratic Party Chairman, as the frontrunners.
Mr. Chiu, 40, would be San Francisco’s first Chinese-American mayor. He was elected board president on his first day in office in 2008 thanks largely to Mr. Peskin, his predecessor as president...
Mr. Chiu is popular and smart, with a firm grasp of policy issues and a centrist’s disposition; Mr. Peskin has been known to refer to him jokingly as “the Chinese Obama,” aides say. Mr. Chiu is often willing to break with his progressive allies and seek compromises with moderate colleagues.
The 46-year-old Mr. Peskin, on the other hand, is widely described as a bare-knuckled powerbroker, a capable operative who has turned the Democratic Party in San Francisco into a solidly progressive political machine.
“Who has put together a majority on that board before? David Chiu and Aaron Peskin,” said Eric Jaye, a former political strategist for Mr. Newsom. “You need to look at those two as front-runners, without a doubt.”
A couple of months ago, a no-holds-barred realpolitik analysis posted on The Wall, a political forum on San Francisco politics, figured Peskin as the politico-most-likely to fill a vacated mayoralty.
Peskin is the mostly likely to be appointed mayor by the other Guys. He started out well in politics as a good-government type.
However, he got carried away with his own power. He developed a nasty habit of getting drunk after dinner and calling public officials at home night, loudly berating them with slurred obscenities.
After being termed out as a supe, he successfully enlisted his cronies to orchestrate a take-over of the Democratic County Central Committee. They pushed out the good-natured, openly-gay Scott Wiener as chair and put Peskin in his place. Since then, Peskin has created a well oiled machine whose purpose is to make himself mayor.
He has expressed his style of politics with the infamous Peskin principle: “Payback is a bitch.” This is the motto of every political machine. He first snarled these words at a woman sitting in a wheelchair.
Just 11 days ago, however, the Bay Citizen reported on Peskin's waning influence, stating that a string of political setbacks has revealed that his "reach seems to have been overstated."