Supervisors battle over interim-mayor decision 

Political fighting erupted Tuesday about who should serve as San Francisco’s interim mayor.

The Board of Supervisors started nominating candidates for mayor to serve out the remainder of Gavin Newsom’s term after he is sworn in as lieutenant governor.

After several nominations and votes, it appeared City Administrator Ed Lee was about to be selected by the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday. It was then that core progressives appeared surprised, and termed-out Supervisor Chris Daly lashed out, calling it the "biggest fumble in San Francisco political history."

He turned to Board of Supervisors President David Chiu and shouted, "I will haunt you. I will politically haunt you."

Daly and other progressives had earlier in the meeting thrown their support behind Sheriff Michael Hennessey, who appeared to be the front-runner. But after a 20-minute recess, requested by Supervisor Bevan Dufty, who was seen as a swing vote, Lee became the favorite.

Lee had the support of four moderates and Chiu. But then Lee quickly picked up not only the support of Dufty, but also Supervisor Eric Mar. It takes six votes to be appointed an interim mayor.

Hennessey was seen as more progressive-minded.

"Politically, [Lee] will work for the other side," Daly said.

The board took another recess and when it returned around 10 p.m., Supervisor John Avalos called on his colleagues to postpone a decision until Friday to allow more time to talk with Lee, who was said to only emerge as a serious contender within the past two days. Lee is not in San Francisco, but in Hong Kong.

The nominations for the interim mayor came as Newsom postponed his Monday swearing-in date in an effort to influence the board’s decision and place the ultimate selection into the hands of a new board. On Saturday, four newly elected members of the board will be sworn in, which would make the board slightly more moderate and ensure Newsom’s chief rival on the board, Daly, is out of office.

Any decision needs to be confirmed by a board vote once Newsom is sworn in to his lieutenant governor position and officially vacates his mayor post, which is scheduled to occur sometime on or before Monday.

Chiu had been mentioned as a possible interim mayor candidate, but also as a mayoral appointment to serve as The City’s district attorney, filling the post vacated by Kamala Harris, who is now serving as the state attorney general.

"[Lee] is someone we can all work with," Chiu said.

The board will meet at 3 p.m. Friday to try and vote again on an interim mayor selection.

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