Janet Reilly should stay in the race

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Now that a judge has ruled that Michela Alioto-Pier can run again for her District Two seat, a wide-open race has become a little strange. Janet Reilly had already rounded up the endorsements of Democratic Party heavies like Dianne Feinstein and Nancy Pelosi, along with Gavin Newsom. Of course, Newsom has always supported Alioto-Pier in the past; he no doubt backed Reilly because he figured (as did a lot of us) that City Attorney Dennis Herrera was right and Alioto-Pier was termed out. Same goes for Feinstein and Pelosi, who won't want to be in the position of opposing an incumbent supervisor who has always sided with the downtown establishment.

So now what do all those people do?

Add in the fact that Herrera, who still thinks his position was correct, might decide to appeal, and the state Appeals Court might still intervene and kick Alioto-Pier off the ballot, and anyone who switches endorsements after this ruling might have to do it again after that one, and you've got quite a political mess.

The only thing that gets the entire power structure of the local Democratic Party off the hook is if Reilly drops out and says she doesn't want to fight Alioto-Pier. There's going to be immense pressure on her to do just that; I bet someone from Pelosi's office has already called.

But Reilly needs to hang tough. She's a good candidate who could mount a serious challenge to Alioto-Pier, who needs a challenge. District Two isn't going to elect a left-progressive, but Reilly would be a much more independent supervisor. I couldn't reach her today, but she told the Chron she was going to make up her mind this fall. My advice: Don't spend a lot of time debating (which leaves all your supporters up in the air). Announce right away that you're in the race for good, that you're in it to win and that you look forward to a lively debate on the issues facing the city. And if Pelosi and Feinstein back off from their endorsements, they look bad and you look fine.