What a tangled web Wiener weaves 

All’s fair in love and war and …  San Francisco politics?

Supervisor Scott Wiener has endorsed City Attorney Dennis Herrera for mayor, a move that Herrera’s campaign quickly announced via a news release on Monday.

The endorsement makes sense, because Wiener worked for Herrera as a deputy city attorney for many years, and Herrera endorsed Wiener’s run for supervisor of District 8 last year.

But the endorsement announcement also fell on the same day that Supervisor David Chiu, president of that body, officially announced his run for mayor  – a coincidence that highlights a possible subplot.

Political insiders with long memories will remember that Chiu and Wiener attended Harvard Law School together and have been friends ever since.

However, the shaky foundation of that friendship was proved in 2008, when Wiener and former Supervisor Aaron Peskin, a progressive powerbroker, squared off for control of the powerful San Francisco Democratic County Central Committee.

Wiener was the incumbent and believed he had enough votes to win reelection. But he was counting on the nominations of Chiu and David Campos (another old friend of Wiener’s), who at the time were both wannabe supervisors. Both badly wanted Peskin’s endorsement in the 2009 election.

At the end of the day, both Campos and Chiu voted for Peskin, leaving their old friend Wiener in the lurch.
Which brings us to today, two-and-a-half years after that vote, and 8 months before a mayoral election. Asked whether the decision to endorse Herrera had anything to do with Chiu’s disloyalty in the 2008 vote, Wiener said no.

“It’s not at all motivated by that. David Chiu and I have a very good relationship and we’re working very well together at the board,” Wiener said. “My endorsement of Dennis doesn’t imply any negativity toward Chiu. I’m endorsing Herrera because I think the world of him and I think he’ll be a tremendous mayor for this city.”

But maybe in the process, Chiu will learn a lesson about the dangers of political expediency.

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Katie Worth

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