Political insiders and many San Franciscans in general expect this year to be Nancy Pelosi’s swan song.
The 83-year-old former speaker, who has represented the city in Congress for 37 years, saw Republicans capture the House last year and handed over leadership of the House Democrats to Hakeem Jeffries.
And her high political profile in a liberal city that many conservatives love to hate appears to be a factor in the brutal October 2022 gavel attack on her husband, Paul Pelosi, in their San Francisco home. David DePape, a far-right supporter of conspiracy theories, was convicted of attempted kidnapping and assault in the attack, and admitted during his trial that he had planned to take Nancy Pelosi hostage and to “break his kneecaps”.
For many people, all of this would be enough to spark thoughts about retirement — but not for Ms. Pelosi. She is seeking another two-year term in November, with no major challenger in sight. Over the weekend, his re-election bid received support from his hometown newspaper, The San Francisco Chronicle.
That’s no surprise: The paper has long supported Ms. Pelosi’s election campaigns and leadership positions among House Democrats, and she occasionally sends notes to her reporters praising their work.
But this time, as the newspaper said, there was a catch.
The editorial board, which does not usually conduct endorsement interviews for candidates without serious opponents, praised Ms. Pelosi’s “strength as a political leader” in her support this time around, and noted that she was “tough, charming and pragmatic” when she met with the board.
But it also raised major concerns, saying Ms. Pelosi would not be a policy innovator at this late stage of her career, and questioning her insistence on investigating financial ties between Russia and protesters calling for a ceasefire. -fire in Israel. Hamas War.
The board also suggested she should give way in Washington to young Democrats in San Francisco, particularly Scott Wiener, a state senator who wants to win his seat one day but doesn’t want to run against her.
Mr. Wiener is known as one of California’s most innovative voices on the issue of building more housing. He argues that dense cities help combat climate change by allowing people to live close to their jobs and avoid long, exhaust-spewing car journeys.
Mr. Wiener said in an interview that Ms. Pelosi “continues to put victories on the values of San Francisco” and that he fully supports her.
Ms. Pelosi’s spokesman, Aaron Bennett, said she had no plans to slow down.
“Speaker Pelosi is not on duty, she is on mission,” he said. “This election is about the future, and at this pivotal moment for our city, there is no one better equipped to continue delivering results to San Francisco than Nancy Pelosi.”
Although Ms. Pelosi’s age is advanced, there has been no discussion among San Franciscans that she may have lost a step, as has been the case for several years over the Senator Dianne Feinstein – and as is happening now on the national stage about President Biden and the Senate. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, both 81 years old.
Alex Clemens, a longtime political strategist in San Francisco, said it was true that Ms. Pelosi’s eventual retirement would trigger a series of political musical chairs that many younger officials are looking forward to. But it’s also true, he says, that it shows no signs of slowing down.
“She continues to operate a schedule that exhausts her staff on two coasts,” he said.
Ms. Pelosi has also proven adept at raising money for other Democrats and stepping into Donald Trump’s shoes, two skills that will be in demand this year.
“If there was ever a man behind the curtain, it was a woman, and it was Nancy Pelosi,” Mr. Clemens said. “She continues to run things more skillfully than any other figure in American politics.”
She and Paul Pelosi, in great shape and recovered from the attack, have been busy. Last month, dressed in a black dress and black tuxedo, they co-chaired the San Francisco Ballet’s opening gala dinner at City Hall.
Mr. Pelosi attended a fundraiser for San Francisco General Hospital last week and spoke to the crowd, both in a recorded video and from his table, about the care he received there after the ‘attack. He then called Ms. Pelosi from Washington, who also thanked the hospital.
The couple attended the Super Bowl, flying to Las Vegas on Saturday morning.
Tennyson Wilson, a passenger on the flight seated next to the Pelosis, told reporters at public radio station KQED that he was impressed by Mrs. Pelosi’s productivity during the short flight.
“I think she read about five newspapers,” he said in the interview. “It was cool to see the machine working. It was like sitting next to your grandmother, but doing a lot more work.