What’s Next For City Hall?

Mayor Ed Lee is dead and London Breed is Mayor. What's next?

San Francisco politics were rocked this morning, when former Mayor Ed Lee suffered massive cardiac arrest and died at 1:11 a.m. City supervisors rushed to Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, and an emergency press conference was called for 10:30 a.m. this morning, with every media outlet in the city vying for a spot on the Mayor’s balcony. Here’s what we learned.

District 5 Supervisor and President of the Board London Breed will stand in as acting mayor for now.

“Board President assumed the duties of acting mayor, and all powers that come with the office,” City Attorney Dennis Herrera explained. “She will have all of those duties until at which time the Board of Supervisors votes on a successor, should they choose to do so — although they are not required to do so.”

If the Board choose to openly support her in this role, she’ll take on the title interim mayor until June of next year, and she will select someone to take her place as District 5 supervisor. The Board will then have to vote on someone to take on the role of president of the Board of Supervisors. 

If the Board doesn’t vote her in as interim mayor she will remain acting mayor, and will keep her position as District 5 supervisor and Board president. 

Either way, a special election will take place for the role of mayor on June 5, 2018, which gives candidates who may run a very short timeline to prepare: The deadline to file the paperwork is Jan. 9. And that election will only be for the span of time that Lee had left in his term, which is set to expire January 2020.

Mark Leno has already filed paperwork confirming his run for mayor, but not for this election cycle. He has not yet announced if he’ll be running in this race. Neither has Breed — but if she does decide to run, that would leave an open seat for District 5 supervisor. 

Other possible candidates include Sup. Jane Kim, Assemblyman David Chiu, and Herrera.

If this seems complicated, it’s because it is. Even seasoned political reporters were unsure about the order of events until Herrera announced them this morning. All of a sudden, we’re in the middle of a mayoral race. And the cogs of our local politics are still turning hour by hour, as City Hall rushes to fill the void left in Lee’s wake.

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