Update 11/03: Mayor Ed Lee responded to On Guard’s question on the rumors, here.
As quickly as you can say “I’m with her,” Mayor Ed Lee may jet San Francisco for the Oval Office.
Well, not quite, but as reported in The Hill today, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is rumored to be eyeing Lee for two cabinet positions.
I suppose that means when Lee met Hillary last year for tea they talked about more than the best herbal brews.
“If she’s elected president next week, Hillary Clinton has pledged that 50 percent of her Cabinet will be female — but she’s under enormous pressure to ensure racial diversity as well,” The Hill reports.
Citing “Democratic sources,” The Hill reported that our mustachioed mayor is being eyed to lead Housing and Urban Development (HUD) or to serve as education secretary.
The reason? The Hill says it’s because Lee has been “focused on affordable housing issues as his city has experienced a tech boom.”
Oh boy. San Francisco’s housing crisis is a credential to lead the nation’s housing agency?
I’ll just leave that one alone.
And so did the mayor. His office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Of perhaps more pertinence to San Franciscans is: Who would be our next mayor?
Jim Ross, a political consultant who has worked across the local Democratic spectrum, helped break down the considerations for a possible Lee-less future.
Our new mayor depends on who is on the Board of Supervisors in 2017, Ross said, as the board votes for the interim mayor.
And the board’s makeup will change based on which of the two state Senate candidates (and Board of Supervisors members), Jane Kim or Scott Wiener, win this election. The Board of Supervisors could tip from a progressive majority to moderate majority after this contentious election as well.
Another question would shake up the mayoral toss up: Who jumps for the job?
Since the board will most likely tip moderate, moderates are the most likely mayoral runners.
Ross speculated if Wiener loses his Senate race that he’d be on a short list to jockey for mayor. And, Ross said, “Why not [Board of Supervisors President] London Breed?” Also, Supervisor Mark Farrell has long been rumored to be positioning himself for a mayoral run. Assemblymembers David Chiu and Phil Ting each ran for mayor against Lee, and may try for the job as well.
Interestingly, a vote for interim mayor may not run on partisan-esque voting lines, Ross said.
“In a vote like this everyone is a coalition of one,” he said. “You’re either a buyer or a seller –– you’re trying to get people to support you or … you’re figuring out how much you can get for your support.”
And who our next permanent mayor is may depend on that process, Ross said.
“What we learned from Ed Lee’s appointment is there’s nothing more powerful to being elected as mayor,” he said, “than being mayor.”
Of course, Lee hasn’t announced any moves yet –– and it’s not even certain Hillary will ultimately nominate him for anything, or even if she’ll win.
But if she wins, and Lee flees, there’s sure to be an earthquake in San Francisco politics.
On Guard prints the news and raises hell each week. Email Fitz at firstname.lastname@example.org, and follow him on Twitter and Instagram @FitztheReporter.