Multiple sources have told the Bay Area Reporter since Tuesday’s election that Jung is the frontrunner to succeed outgoing party chair Aaron Peskin. In a brief interview Thursday, June 7 Jung told the B.A.R. that she is actively pursuing the position.
It is a 180 from what she had said in her questionnaire when asked about the open chair position by the B.A.R., which endorsed Jung in the race for 10 seats on the Democratic County Central Committee allocated to residents in the city’s westside Assembly District 19.
Currently serving as the party’s recording secretary, Jung had replied to the paper’s question that she wouldn’t have the time to commit to being chair.
But after continued urging from her fellow DCCC members, Jung said she had a change of heart and would now like to be chair.
“I am seriously exploring the possibility,” said Jung, who has served on the party committee since 2000 and ran for chair once before in 2006. “I was extremely flattered people were asking me to do it. At the time I never really considered it a possibility.”
With the distraction of the campaign out of the way, Jung can now focus on lining up the votes she will need to be elected chair when the new DCCC members are installed sometime in July, likely at a special meeting Wednesday, July 18.
Other names that have been floated as potential chair candidates are gay former Supervisor Bevan Dufty, who won a DCCC seat this week, and re-elected DCCC members Matt Dorsey, Rafael Mandelman and Alix Rosenthal.
Arlo Hale Smith, a gay man who won re-election to the DCCC Tuesday from AD19, believes Jung has the votes to become chair.
“Mary has a long record of working with everyone and all the factions on the committee,” he told the B.A.R.
He believes Jung, who is straight, will be a consensus builder such as past gay and lesbian chairs like Scott Wiener (now a supervisor), former state lawmaker Carole Migden, and former supervisor Leslie Katz (now a port commissioner).
“She will be fair,” said Smith.
Jung said she does not want the DCCC to act like a “shadow Board of Supervisors,” where it enters local policy debates, and instead believes it should focus on electing Democrats and registering voters. With six sitting supervisors winning seats on the DCCC, however, avoiding policy fights could prove difficult for the next chair.
“My strong suit, and the reason why people are encouraging me to run for DCCC chair, is I set out to build the Democratic Party,” said Jung. “The DCCC is meant to help Democrats win and pass ballot measures on issues we think are important.”