Skip to main content
Politics & Policy

Nancy Tung, a career prosecutor, elected as San Francisco Democratic Party chair

A woman in a white outfit smiling and waving, with ornate decor in the background.
Nancy Tung is elected as the San Francisco Democratic Party chair. | Source: Estefany Gonzalez/The Standard

San Francisco’s Democratic Party entered a new era Friday night as candidates from the city’s moderate political camp, who won in a landslide in the March election, were sworn into office.

The governing body, officially known as the Democratic County Central Committee, or DCCC, also elected Nancy Tung, a career prosecutor and chief-level attorney working for the District Attorney’s Office, as the party chair.

“Thank you, everyone, for this distinct honor,” Tung said. “Hopefully, we will be able to unify as we go towards November.”

She admitted that there will be growing pains as the committee changes leadership and that it’s going to take some time to heal division within the party, but many of the new members are committed to doing that.

Tung received most of the support, while some progressive DCCC members voted to abstain from the vote.

Tung’s election as party chair marks an inflection point in her tumultuous political career. 

A veteran prosecutor and daughter of Taiwanese immigrants, Tung ran for district attorney in 2019 but lost to Chesa Boudin. In March 2020, she won a seat on DCCC, and Mayor London Breed appointed her to the powerful Police Commission soon after.

However, the Board of Supervisors shot down Tung’s nomination to the Police Commission. During the wave of protests following the murder of George Floyd by an officer in Minneapolis, Tung was seen as too friendly to police at a time when progressive leadership and criminal justice reform was ascendant in San Francisco.

In 2022, after Boudin was recalled, Tung was among the shortlisted candidates competing for Breed’s appointment to replace Boudin. But Breed ultimately chose Brooke Jenkins, and Tung later joined Jenkins’ administration.

Group of diverse people posing in a room, some standing and one in a wheelchair, smiling at the camera.
Newly elected Democratic County Central Committee members pose for a group photo on Friday. | Source: Han Li/The Standard

The San Francisco Democratic County Central Committee was the subject of a major push by moderates to take control of the relatively obscure party governing board.

Moderates argued that the San Francisco Democratic party was out of touch with San Francisco voters, taking unpopular positions on the 2022 recalls and other ballot issues. The candidates aimed to restore what they saw as a tarnished political brand. 

To that end, the newly elected committee passed a number of symbolic resolutions that articulate its priorities, such as in support of labor unions, public safety, school district student excellence and building more housing. The next meeting will be held a month later in May.

Tung was among the top winners in the March DCCC election, and she will serve with a mostly friendly group of colleagues after moderates captured a supermajority.

Moderate-leaning candidates won a total of 18 elected seats, while progressives got six. Eight more seats are for ex-officio members, who are federal or state-level elected officials such as Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi.

The local party chapter will soon face difficult choices, however. 

The committee will play a major role this election year as moderate mayoral candidates compete for endorsements and support. Tung said the mayoral endorsement process will start in June after the filing deadline.

The political calculation and manipulation for the mayoral endorsement may start soon, if it hasn’t started already, as multiple moderate candidates are running, including incumbent Mayor London Breed, former interim mayor Mark Farrell and philanthropist Daniel Lurie.

“The moderates in general are on the same page about ranked-choice voting,” Jade Tu, a newly sworn-in member and campaign manager for Farrell, told The Standard about the potential dual or triple endorsement of the moderate candidates. “People already are talking about endorsement, chatting about it.”