Political sects duke it out

A behind-the-scenes battle for control of an influential political committee comes to a head Wednesday with the election of its chairman, and the winner is poised to have significant sway over November’s race for seven seats on the Board of Supervisors.

An unusual amount of political wrangling has taken place around the San Francisco Democratic County Central Committee — commonly referred to as the D-triple-C — an influential group for the power of its endorsements, one of the few that matters in San Francisco politics.

While this committee is usually a stepping stone for newcomers on the political scene, this summer some of The City’s most powerful politicians are attempting to take control of the group.

In June, progressive members of the Board of Supervisors — President Aaron Peskin and Supervisor Chris Daly — and progressive candidates vying for a seat on the board in November successfully ran for seats on the committee.

After their victories, Daly started pushing for Peskin to be chairman. Scott Wiener, who was re-elected to the committee in June, has served as chairman for the past two years.

“The progressive takeover is about getting selective supervisorial candidates elected this year and in two years,” political consultant David Latterman said.

Daly has candidly stated that the progressive effort has much to do with November’s Board of Supervisors election, in which seven of the board’s 11 seats are up for grabs. The political stakes are high, including the fate of Mayor Gavin Newsom’s veto power and whether the progressives will retain majority rule over the moderates. It takes eight votes on the board to override a mayoral veto of legislation.

Daly has given blow-by-blow accounts on his personal blog about his efforts to have the committee operate more in line with the progressive agenda and the “heavy hitting going on behind the scenes for its top leadership post.”

“Since the progressive sweep of the Boardof Supervisors in 2000, there’s been no bigger make-or-break election for progressives in San Francisco,” Daly said of the November election.

Daly said if Wiener is elected, it would be “less likely” progressive candidates would obtain the party’s endorsement and “all that work electing progressives to the DCCC … would be instantly lost.”

On July 17, Daly said that Peskin would win, already receiving “19 commitments.”

Wiener said that his record as committee chair — including registering 15,000 voters in two years — makes him the best candidate for the post. He also expressed concern that if the committee begins focusing more on “San Francisco political wrangling,” it would take away from its top priority of registering voters, encouraging voter turnout and building a stronger party.

On Wednesday evening, the 34-member committee, of which 24 are elected, will vote on its chairman. Ex-officio committee members include U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi and Assembly member Fiona Ma, a former District 4 Supervisor, who will vote by proxy.

jsabatini@examiner.com

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