Backroom meetings precede today's mayoral succession vote

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Who will succeed Gavin Newsom in Room 200?
Ben Hopfer

There's been a flurry of political speculation and backroom discussions leading up to today's final meeting of the current Board of Supervisors, which is scheduled to consider appointment of a successor mayor to Gavin Newsom starting at 3 p.m., despite Newsom's refusal to vacate the office and assume the duties of lieutenant governor as he was supposed to yesterday.

After Kamala Harris took her oath of office as attorney general yesterday, Newsom now has the power to appoint a new district attorney, which he's likely to wrap into his efforts to thwart progressive supervisors from appointing an interim mayor of their liking. So all eyes are on Newsom, as well as Board President David Chiu, and sources tell the Guardian that the two men met this morning behind closed doors.

Could Newsom appoint Chiu as the new DA in exchange for his support on naming a moderate as caretaker mayor? That possibility has progressives bristling with anger and privately threatening to aggressively go after Chiu if he cuts that kind of deal. The other way that Chiu might earn the progressive wrath is if he cuts a deal to become interim mayor that involves lots of support from the moderates.

But it's also possible that most board progressives would back Chiu for interim mayor, although Sup. David Campos has so far been the most reluctant among progressives to support Chiu, who generally votes with progressives but who has cut a few high-profile deals with Newsom. Sup. Chris Daly told us that he will nominate Aaron Peskin for interim mayor today and Sup. Ross Mirkarimi is backing Art Agnos, who appears to have five votes but probably not six. The moderates are likely to push for Sheriff Michael Hennessey, although Newsom's stated hope that the board consider his Chief of Staff Steve Kawa is a fantasy that only Newsom is seriously entertaining.

So far, Chiu and his people have been playing their cards fairly close to their vests, so it will be high drama going into today's meeting. But what happens today is anyone's guess, with the possibilities ranging from a deal to name a new mayor and DA to another anticlimactic punt of the decision on to the next board, which will be sworn in this Saturday.

Stay tuned.