All of a sudden, people seem to have caught their breath, and it’s silly season again. First we heard Mark Leno is gonna challenge Carole Migden for State Senate. Then, someone started floating the idea that Migden is going to run against Newsom for mayor, either in a sincere effort to unseat him, or as a way to raise her ID and progressive credentials before the 2008 primary.
In addition, there’s a possibility that the presidential part of California’s 2008 primary could be moved to January, and would include a proposition to extend term limits to 12 years in either house (I assume that means 12 years total service in both houses, but I am not sure). That would mean that Leno was not termed out of the Assembly, and could potentially stay, which would mean that Tom Ammiano would be forced to run against Leno or be out of luck.
I think there’s plenty other ramifications of these moves that we haven’t really thought about yet, one of which might be what would happen if Migden beat Newsom? I think the senate seat gets filled “in a special election called by the Governor”. When would that be? Doesn’t it make sense for Arnold to stall as long as possible, since the Senator elected from San Francisco will almost certainly be a Democrat (or a Green, but no one sympathetic to his positions)?
I haven’t given a huge amount of thought to whether Migden could beat Newsom, or whether Leno could beat Migden, or whether there’s likely to be someone else coming out of the woodwork (Tim Durning pointed out in comments that Tony Hall’s going to run). I do think, however, that we underestimate any of these folks at our peril. Carole Migden’s been pretty much cruising for the last few years, but she’s famous for being a hard-assed campaigner, so I think it’s a mistake to count her out anywhere.
Finally, a huge factor in all these races is the support of Labor. It’s been a very long time since anyone was elected mayor in San Francisco without the support of the majority of the unions.