SAN FRANCISCO — Nancy Pelosi has made two very other, virtually irreconcilable statements about her political long run.
In 2018, she pledged that 2022 could be her closing yr as House Democratic chief, acceding to a time period restrict to quell an rebellion and protected a 2nd stint as speaker. In January, she introduced she was once operating for every other two-year time period within the House.
With the House’s passage of the sweeping measure to deal with local weather alternate and prescription drug costs on Friday — “a glorious day for us,” Ms. Pelosi beamed — and her China-defying travel to Taiwan serving as a diplomatic occupation capstone, the query of what comes subsequent for Ms. Pelosi is most effective intensifying.
Will she press to stick on as speaker if Democrats in some way cling the House? Or, if Republicans take keep an eye on, will she merely retire?
She may spoil her 2018 pledge and search to stay Democratic chief within the minority. Those on the subject of her describe just one possibility as not possible: a demotion to the backbench.
Ms. Pelosi, 82, has have shyed away from discussing her plans previous November and declined to be interviewed. A spokesman, Drew Hammill, issued the similar, terse observation he has introduced prior to now: “The speaker is not on a shift,” he mentioned. “She’s on a mission.”
Some clues to Ms. Pelosi’s long run is also discovered nearer to her house in San Francisco — the place the tantalizing risk of the town’s first open congressional seat for the reason that fall of the Soviet Union has turn into the political communicate of town.
Would-be applicants, hard work leaders, political strategists, donors and activists are already busily plotting what a race to prevail her would seem like — albeit virtually completely in secret, to keep away from antagonizing Ms. Pelosi, who has made simple she desires to retire on her personal phrases.
“This is very much the campaign that shall not be named,” Dan Newman, a San Francisco-based Democratic operative, mentioned of the early jostling. “Nancy Pelosi is a force of nature, and no one wants to appear in any way disrespectful or dismissive.”
In interviews, greater than a dozen officers mentioned native Democrats have been getting ready for the chance that Ms. Pelosi may renounce reasonably than keep and hand the gavel to a Republican. That would cause a snap particular election in San Francisco, held inside 150 days — a dash for what, given the town’s politics, may quantity to a de facto lifetime appointment to Congress.
Adding to the intrigue: One doable successor is Ms. Pelosi’s daughter Christine Pelosi, a birthday celebration activist and Democratic National Committee government committee member who serves as an adviser to her mom, has written a e book about her and regularly accompanies her to native union halls, speeches and parades. She slings her evaluations on-line from a Twitter take care of, @sfpelosi, that would at a look be perplexed for one her mom may use.
Wrapped up within the elder Ms. Pelosi’s resolution and its timing are intertwined questions of energy, legacy and dynasty, and the way totally a barrier-breaking, notoriously aggressive public determine can stage-manage her go out.
There may be Washington politics: Ms. Pelosi referred to as herself “a bridge to the next generation of leaders” 4 years in the past, signaling her want that her departure coincide with the ones of her fellow-octogenarian lieutenants, Representatives Steny Hoyer, 83, and James Clyburn, 82. Neither has agreed.
In San Francisco, in a similar way, the Pelosi title stays cherished, however there is not any ensure of a managed succession.
A well-liked state senator, Scott Wiener, whose district overlaps Ms. Pelosi’s, is broadly noticed as laying the groundwork for a marketing campaign. Mr. Wiener spent just about $2.5 million on his re-election and has been wooing supporters below the guise of fine politics, regardless that his ambitions to turn into San Francisco’s first overtly homosexual congressman are an open secret.
In an interview at a Brazilian pastry store, the 6-foot-7-inch Mr. Wiener refused even to broach the potential of a post-Pelosi generation. “The longer she stays, the better for our country,” he mentioned. “I’m on Team Nancy.”
It was once a remark befitting what Tony Winnicker, an established native Democratic strategist, referred to as “the first rule of wanting to run for Nancy Pelosi’s seat.”
“You never talk about it in a way that suggests Nancy will ever leave,” he mentioned.
Christine Pelosi, too, declined to remark.
As former chair of the ladies’s caucus of the state Democratic Party, the more youthful Ms. Pelosi, 56, has been outspoken in preventing sexual harassment.
Increasingly, she and Mr. Wiener, 52, are crisscrossing at native occasions, like a Pride breakfast the place he and the elder Ms. Pelosi each delivered speeches. “This has been a family affair for us for more than 30 years,” Nancy Pelosi mentioned, spotting her daughter’s presence. (She additionally stated Mr. Wiener.)
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Just as she has in Washington, the place she has outlasted a technology of doable male successors — Rahm Emanuel, Chris Van Hollen and Joseph Crowley amongst them — Ms. Pelosi has saved an array of bold native officers on ice since 1987.
Willie Brown, the previous San Francisco mayor, mentioned that the ones making plans House campaigns have been good to get began, although relatively untimely. In an interview over lunch, he speculated that Ms. Pelosi would turn out an impressive best friend to her daughter, ultimately.
“If her mother is not around, Christine would be a formidable candidate,” Mr. Brown mentioned. “Because her mother would make her a formidable candidate.”
Few be expecting the speaker to show her intentions till November. Doing so any quicker may scale back her sway over the razor-thin House Democratic majority, to not point out her energy as a fund-raiser. She hosts a significant fund-raiser in Napa subsequent weekend, together with a cocktail reception at her house.
Whenever her House seat opens up, it’ll be a possibility not to simply prevail the primary feminine speaker in United States historical past however to additionally constitute a town that has lengthy punched above its weight in nationwide politics, in spite of a inhabitants smaller than that of Columbus, Ohio.
Today, the No. 2 and No. 3 officers within the presidential line of succession — Vice President Kamala Harris, as soon as the town’s district lawyer, and Ms. Pelosi — each reduce their enamel politically in San Francisco. Democrats who emerge within the town’s notoriously cutthroat liberal politics, from Gov. Gavin Newsom to Senator Dianne Feinstein to Ms. Pelosi, have discovered techniques to placate the oft-warring factions of the Democratic Party.
“The fight gives you muscle,” mentioned Debra Walker, an artist and activist who has served because the president of the Harvey Milk L.G.B.T.Q. Democratic Club. Ms. Walker was once appointed in June to the San Francisco Police Commission, as Mayor London Breed sought to defuse a blowup between the police division and the town’s annual Pride Parade organizers, who had sought to bar officials from marching in uniform.
Even amongst Ms. Pelosi’s buddies and allies, some have questioned if Christine Pelosi, who wrote a e book on campaigning however hasn’t ever run for place of business herself, is adequately ready.
“I would rather see Christine start at a state level rather than Congress,” mentioned Joe Cotchett, a significant Democratic donor and circle of relatives good friend.
Mr. Cotchett anticipated Nancy Pelosi to reinforce her daughter, up to some degree. “Do I think that Nancy will push her? Emotionally, she’s her daughter,” he mentioned. “But I don’t think Nancy is the type of person who would step in and attempt to block anyone from running.”
If the elder Ms. Pelosi is understood for her deft courting control, that has been much less true for Christine, whose years as an activist have integrated urgent for D.N.C. resolutions — looking to ban company contributions, tough a 2020 local weather debate — occasionally to the exasperation of birthday celebration officers.
Her closing title has insulated her from public grievance, however hidden frustrations have fastened, in line with a part dozen officers on each coasts.
She antagonized the Newsom group, as an example, when she instructed right through the 2021 recall that Mr. Newsom must step down if he seemed prone to lose. Publicly, she sought to undercut Mr. Newsom’s central technique of labeling the recall as a Republican energy grasp. Privately, she was once without delay texting Mr. Newsom to whinge about his ways, in line with two other people briefed at the messages she despatched.
Mr. Newsom defeated the recall in a landslide.
In a town the place politics is regularly private and fractious, Mr. Wiener has accrued critics, too.
“People talk about it all the time,” Mike Casey, president of the San Francisco Labor Council, mentioned of the race to prevail Ms. Pelosi. “But mostly, like, who don’t we want. Like Scott Wiener has really gotten on the trades’ and a number of our bad side.”
And whilst Mr. Wiener and Ms. Pelosi are progressives through any nationwide metric, neither would essentially fulfill the town’s ideological purists, a wing that would box a candidate, too. “I haven’t ruled it out,” mentioned Jane Kim, a 45-year-old former manager and government director of the California Working Families Party.
Jen Snyder, a San Francisco-based strategist who works with progressives, may summon little enthusiasm for a Pelosi-Wiener contest.
“It will be Mothra versus Godzilla,” Ms. Snyder mentioned. “I guess I will be on the sidelines eating popcorn.”
Another imaginable candidate is Ms. Breed, the primary Black lady to function mayor. She has indicated she is fed up in a congressional run, in line with other people on the subject of her.
“I can tell you as a friend of hers, she’s not,” mentioned Lee Housekeeper, a neighborhood public-relations veteran, who joined Mr. Brown for the lunch interview.
“I can tell you as a friend of hers, she better be,” Mr. Brown interjected.
Clint Reilly, who controlled Ms. Pelosi’s 1987 congressional marketing campaign and has recognized her circle of relatives since, declined in the beginning to speak. “Leave me alone!” he insisted. “They won’t be happy with anything I say!”
But Mr. Reilly, an investor who now owns The San Francisco Examiner, agreed to speak, together with about how Ms. Pelosi received that first race, defeating a homosexual rival, Harry Britt, who ran to her left, in a multicandidate scrum.
Her prophetic slogan: “A voice that will be heard.”
If Democrats lose in November, Mr. Reilly mentioned, “most people would call it at that time.” But no longer essentially Ms. Pelosi. “She loves the game,” he mentioned, “She hates to lose.”
“How it ends?” he mused. “I don’t think even she knows the answer.”