Two days after she rattled San Francisco's political scene by acknowledging an unexpected interest in running for Congress, Mayor Dianne Feinstein suddenly and unexpectedly Wednesday evening decided not to run.
"There are simply too many issues critical to the city that cannot be deferred by the distractions of a campaign or postponed until a new mayor can be found," she said in a written statement.
Chief among those pending issues is the city budget, she said. But the list also includes the city's homeless, its AIDS crisis, redevelopment projects and a new stadium for its baseball team, the Giants.
"I do not want to leave City Hall with my job incomplete," she said. ". . . I love this city with my whole heart and I intend to remain as mayor and finish the job."
Investment in Future
Feinstein's political consultant, Clint Reilly, sees her decision as an investment in her future. She has expressed an interest in running for governor in 1990.
"She has always been real sensitive to the idea that the legacy of her mayoralty is going to reflect on everything she wants to do in the future," he said.
Still, the decision not to run for Congress was surprising, if only for its suddenness. Executive Deputy Mayor Hadley Roff said Feinstein made up her mind at the close of business Wednesday and issued her statement an hour later.
Her announcement came only hours after two city supervisors, Harry Britt and Carol Ruth Silver, declared their candidacy for the 5th Congressional District, which was vacated by the Feb. 1 death of Democrat Sala Burton. Other candidates are Supervisor Bill Maher and Democratic activist Nancy Pelosi.
Seen as Front-Runner
Feinstein acknowledged only Monday that her supporters had convinced her to reconsider an earlier decision not to seek the congressional seat. As a proven vote-getter and skilled fund raiser, she immediately was seen as front-runner.
But her campaign would have hurt two political allies--Pelosi and Supervisor John Molinari, who hopes to succeed Feinstein as mayor. Had Feinstein resigned, the Board of Supervisors might have selected someone other than Molinari to fill out her term--and perhaps run again with an incumbent's advantage in November.
A quick move to Congress--the special primary election is April 7, with a runoff, if needed, on June 2--also would impinge on her personal life, Reilly said. Feinstein is married to investor-adventurer Dick Blum.
"Cumulatively, it all made for a 'no-go' rather than a 'go,' " Reilly said. "Also, after 10 years as mayor, she is looking forward to some time off."