Exactly when the appointment will become official waits on Mayor Gavin Newsom. The lieutenant-governor elect has not yet taken the oath of office for his statewide post. An interim appointment must also be confirmed by the new Board of Supervisors, who are sworn in on Saturday.
Ed Lee, seen as a moderate ally of Newsom and the city’s downtown interests, won out over longtime Sheriff Michael Hennessey, the preferred candidate of the city’s progressives.
The selection came with more than the usual political intrigue: Board of Supervisors President David Chiu, until Tuesday a progressive ally, cast his lot in with moderate mayoral supporters Michela Alioto-Pier, Sean Elsbernd and Carmen Chu in supporting Ed Lee.
But nobody — not Lee and not Hennessey — had the requisite six votes until after a 20 minute recess called by Supervisor Bevan Dufty, who had in the past pledged support for Hennessey. Dufty and Supervisor Sophie Maxwell spent the 20-minute recess in Mayor Gavin Newsom’s office, and when they returned, both pledged support for Lee.
Exactly what Chiu — who is rumored to want the vacant District Attorney position — will get out of the deal is unclear. But what is clear is that Tuesday is a disaster for San Francisco’s progressives.
“We got played,” said Supervisor John Avalos, who with progressive supervisors Chris Daly, Eric Mar and Ross Mirkarimi had supported Hennessey. “It’s very strange… but we let ourselves get played.”
Daly, not known for mincing words, went further. He pledged to “haunt” Chiu politically before declaring to members of the press that he will run for Mayor of San Francisco in November.
“This is the biggest fumble in San Francisco political history — and it rests on the shoulders of David Chiu,” said Daly.