Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 3 / 18 January 2018

Peskin eyes run against Migden

San Francisco Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin may throw his hat in the ring for the seat held by state Senator Carole Migden (D-San Francisco) in 2008.

Peskin spokesman David Noyola told the Bay Area Reporter Thursday, December 21 that Peskin “is giving a run for state Senate very serious consideration.”

State Assemblyman Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) is also pondering a run against Migden. He’s already polled voters about his chances, tellling reporters the results were “very encouraging.” While he has said he won’t make a final decision until early next year, most political pundits expect him to enter the race. The Senate district includes part of San Francisco, Marin, and Sonoma counties.

Peskin’s entry into the race could help lift Migden’s chances by pulling left-leaning voters – whose support for the fiery lawmaker may have waned as of late – away from Leno. Or it could be a sign that the floodgates may soon open and other politicians, especially those in Marin and Sonoma, may see Migden as vulnerable and also enter the race.

No matter what Peskin’s motivations are for floating his name, the possibility for a Migden-Leno matchup has presented an early Christmas gift to political observers, bloggers, and reporters.

The latest issue of Capitol Weekly ran a story with conflicting reports on how state Senator Don Perata (D-Oakland) is reacting to Leno’s manuevers. According to the story, Perata political adviser Paul Hefner told the Weekly that Perata advised Leno not to take on Migden.

“He’s made it clear to everyone involved that Senator Migden, as a sitting senator, he would come to her defense, just as he would any member of the caucus,” Hefner told the paper.

Hogwash, responded Leno when asked about it.

The story says that Leno spoke to Perata a week and a half ago to tell him about the poll he commissioned and that Perata gave him no such warning.

“No, he did not,” Leno is quoted as saying. “It was a very brief conversation. He just told me to be in contact with him before I made any formal decision.”

The report goes on to note that the combination of Leno’s star rising after his gay-marriage legislation with some well-publicized gaffes by Migden may put the seat into play.

“She understands this is one of the unfortunate realities of term limits,” said Hallye Jordan, a spokeswoman for Migden, told the Weekly.

Of course, Perata’s supposedly sticking up for Migden may be to save his own position as Senate leader. The Sacramento Bee has already speculated that Migden could take over Perata’s position, especially if an FBI investigation into his allegedly steering state business toward friends and his son Nick results in charges being filed.

The Weekly posits that if Perata publicly supports Migden against Leno, it would be a “thawing of a sometimes-contentious relationship between the two.” The article reports that Sacramento insiders believe Perata pressured Migden to step down as chair of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee just over a year ago. This incident, recounts the article, followed a widely publicized “ghost voting” incident two months earlier when she went onto the Assembly floor and voted for one of her own bills using the desk of Assemblyman Guy Houston, R-Livermore. Migden said at the time that the move was “temporary” and she planned on returning to the post in June. It never happened, though she does hold the post of caucus chairwoman, noted the Weekly.

Counterbalancing what Perata may do to assist Migden is the fact that Leno has spent his time in the Assembly traversing the state raising money for his fellow lawmakers. He could call in quite a number of chits if he does run.

Adding to the end-of-the-year political rumor mongering, Leno’s likely challenge to Migden has some moving Migden to the top of the list of would-be challengers against Mayor Gavin Newsom next year.

It is no secret Migden would love to be declared San Francisco’s first out LGBT mayor.

Even if she lost, some have speculated that her taking on the moderate mayor could boost her ratings with the city’s progressive establishment. Something that could bode well for Migden if Leno does enter the Senate race.

— Matthew S. Bajko, December 21, 2006 @ 3:37 pm PST
Filed under: News

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