Political insiders and many San Franciscans in general expected this year to be Nancy Pelosi’s swan song.
The former president, who is 83 and represented the city in Congress for 37 years, saw Republicans take over the House of Representatives last year and handed over her leadership to Democrat Hakeem Jeffries.
Her high political profile in a liberal city that many conservatives love to hate appeared to be a factor in the brutal October 2022 hammer attack on her husband, Paul Pelosi, at their San Francisco home. Far-right conspiracy theorist David DePaipe was found guilty of attempted kidnapping and assault, and admitted during his trial that he planned to take Nancy Pelosi hostage and “break her kneecaps.”
For many people, all of that would be enough to prompt retirement thoughts — but not for Mrs. Pelosi. She is running for another two-year term in November, with no major challenge in sight. During the weekend, her bid for re-election was accepted confirming her hometown listThe San Francisco Chronicle.
Not surprisingly, the paper has long supported Ms. Pelosi’s campaigns for office and leadership positions among House Democrats, and she occasionally sends notes to her reporters praising their work.
But this time, according to the paper, there was a catch.
The editorial board, which usually does not conduct interviews to endorse candidates without serious challengers, this time praised Ms. Pelosi’s “strength as a political leader” in its endorsement, noting that she was “tough, charming and pragmatic” when she was introduced to the record.
But it also raised major concerns, saying Ms. Pelosi would not be a policy innovator at this late stage in her career, and calling into question her insistence on investigating financial ties between Russia and protesters calling for a cease-fire in the Israel-Hamas war.
The board also suggested that she should give way in Washington to younger Democrats from San Francisco, especially Scott Wiener, a state senator who wants her seat one day but doesn’t want to run against her.
Mr. Wiener is known as one of California’s more innovative voices on housing development. He argues that densely populated cities help tackle climate change by allowing people to live close to their workplaces and avoid long journeys in exhaust-fueled cars.
Mr. Wiener said in an interview that Ms. Pelosi “continues to win on the board of San Francisco values” and that he fully supports her.
Ms. Pelosi’s spokesman, Aaron Bennett, said she had no intention of slowing down.
“Speaker Pelosi is not on shift, she is on a mission,” he said. “This election speaks to the future, and at this crucial time for our city, there is no one better equipped to continue the work for San Francisco than Nancy Pelosi.”
Although Ms. Pelosi has advanced, there has been no chatter among San Franciscans that she may have lost her step, as there was for several years about Senator Dianne Feinstein — and as there is now on the national stage about President Biden and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. both are 81 years old.
Alex Clemens, a longtime San Francisco political strategist, said it’s true that Ms. Pelosi’s eventual retirement will set in motion a round of political musical chairs that many younger officeholders are eagerly anticipating. But it’s also true, he said, that she shows no signs of slowing down.
“She continues to manage a schedule that exhausts her bicoastal staff,” he said.
Ms. Pelosi has also proven adept at raising money for other Democrats and getting under Donald Trump’s skin, two skills that will be in demand this year.
“If ever there was a man behind the curtain, it’s a woman, and she’s Nancy Pelosi,” Mr. Clemens said. “She continues to run things with a more flexible touch than any other figure in American politics.”
She and Paul Pelosi, who looked fit and recovered from the attack, were busy. Last month she appeared in a black dress and a black tuxedo. they co-chaired the San Francisco Ballet’s opening night gala at City Hall.
Mr. Pelosi attended a fundraiser for San Francisco General Hospital last week and told the crowd, both on video and from his desk, about the care he received there after the attack. He then called Mrs. Pelosi from Washington, who also thanked the hospital.
The couple attended the Super Bowl, flying coach to Las Vegas on Saturday morning.
Tennyson Wilson, a passenger on the flight who sat next to Pelosi, he told reporters at public radio station KQED that he was impressed by Ms. Pelosi’s productivity during the short flight.
“I think she read about five newspapers,” he said in an interview. “It was great to watch the machine work. It was like sitting next to your grandmother, but doing a lot more work.”