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Mary Jung’s tenure as DCCC head nears end

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Democratic County Central Committee Chair Mary Jung, center, gathers with supporters on June 7 as they wait for votes to be counted for the primary election. (Joel Angel Juárez/Special to S.F. Examiner
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Winter is coming for one San Francisco Democratic Party political player.

Much has been made in this column about Mary Jung’s soft power. The head of the obscure-but-important Democratic County Central Committee — or Dee-triple-Cee — Jung was able to appoint new members and guide the party’s key election endorsements to shore up candidates who were allies of Mayor Ed Lee.

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In her odd dual role, Jung was a lobbyist who often met with Mayor Lee on behalf of the San Francisco Association of Realtors — a group who frequently lobbies against rental protections in a renter-majority city.

Jung also oversaw a flood of money via unlimited campaign donations, a damning loophole within the DCCC that allows candidates running for DCCC and other offices — like the Board of Supervisors — to skirt campaign laws in spirit, if not in letter.

No longer.

This June, the votes were cast, and a majority of “Reform Slate” (read: Democratic Progressives) were elected as DCCC members. Now on the newest published agenda for the DCCC’s next meeting, slated for Wednesday, is a standout item: Election of the Chair.

The new members will vote for a new head of the DCCC. Right now, the votes line up for someone other than Jung.

Who will be the new chair? A few sources close to On Guard are rumbling the new chair may be Planning Commissioner Cindy Wu.

Wu was passed over by Mayor Lee for appointment to the Board of Supervisors’ District 3 seat, which includes Chinatown and North Beach and which is now held by Aaron Peskin.

Lee’s decision to back Julie Christensen sparked Peskin’s return — and perhaps a temporary split between Lee and Chinatown community organizer Rose Pak.

Speaking to On Guard, Wu said, “I put my name in the hat.” And although Wu stressed that the votes have not yet been cast, things may change.

“I think it’ll be an honor to serve,” she said, “but the vote is Wednesday.”

If the new and returning members of the DCCC vote her in as chair, Wu said she would continue the work of registering new Democrats in The City.

“The base role of the DCCC is to register voters, outreach to voters,” she said. “I think as a group we should all be focused on that.”

Jon Golinger, who led the “Reform Slate” of progressive Democrats, told On Guard that new DCCC members are already in talks to cap the outrageous campaign contribution limits.

Also coming down the pike at the DCCC is the August round of endorsements. Supervisor hopefuls running for office from the Mission District to the Richmond District will vie for the powerful rubber stamp of the Democratic Party — and the many mailers the party will send on their behalf.

Many of those making those decisions have deep, intermingling ties with both the moderate and progressive wings of the local Democratic party. They include former Supervisor Angela Alioto, former Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, California Democratic Party Chair John Burton, former Supervisor Sophie Maxwell and Supervisor Peskin, among others.

With powerful politicians — and personalities — in the mix, one thing is for sure: This political season will be one to watch.

On Guard prints the news and raises hell each week. Email him at joe@sfexaminer.com

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