Will Nancy Pelosi call it quits? Here’s one way to tell

(FILES) In this file photo US Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California, holds her weekly press briefing on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on October 1, 2020. - The US Congress opens its new session on January 3, 2021, kicking off an explosive week in Washington as Republican lawmakers vow to challenge Joe Biden's election win, pro-Trump protesters gather and voters in Georgia decide who controls the Senate. The rebel push by a group of 12 senators loyal to President Donald Trump to block formal certification of Biden's November victory is all but certain to fail, but has raised tensions on Capitol Hill as lawmakers return to work. On Sunday, when lawmakers take their seats in the House of Representatives, top Democrat Nancy Pelosi faces a possibly tricky battle for reelection as speaker -- an office that places her only two heartbeats from the presidency. (Photo by Nicholas Kamm / AFP) (Photo by NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images)
(FILES) In this file photo US Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California, holds her weekly press briefing on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on October 1, 2020. – The US Congress opens its new session on January 3, 2021, kicking off an explosive week in Washington as Republican lawmakers vow to challenge Joe Biden’s election win, pro-Trump protesters gather and voters in Georgia decide who controls the Senate. The rebel push by a group of 12 senators loyal to President Donald Trump to block formal certification of Biden’s November victory is all but certain to fail, but has raised tensions on Capitol Hill as lawmakers return to work. On Sunday, when lawmakers take their seats in the House of Representatives, top Democrat Nancy Pelosi faces a possibly tricky battle for reelection as speaker — an office that places her only two heartbeats from the presidency. (Photo by Nicholas Kamm / AFP) (Photo by NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images)NICHOLAS KAMM / AFP via Getty Images

By Joe Garifoli

May 2, 2021 (SFChronicle.com)

The question of whether House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will retire after next year is a momentous one for more than just Washington. Her decision has far-reaching implications in her San Francisco district, where everyone and their chihuahua is likely to run when the seat opens up.

When Pelosi stops working to raise money, then we’ll know the end is nigh.

Two years ago, as part of a deal she cut with Democrats who threatened to oppose her for the top job in the House, Pelosi promised not to serve as speaker beyond this term. She said in November, “I will abide by those limits.”

So what does Susan Page, author of a new Pelosi biography, “Madam Speaker: Nancy Pelosi and the Lessons of Power,” think she will do? Page had 10 sit-down interviews with Pelosi while researching the book.

“I don’t know the answer to your question, but I’ll tell you what I think: I think this is her last term. I think this is her valedictory term,” Page said on my “It’s All Political” podcast. “She’s working hard to get Joe Biden’s big legislative agenda through the House, but I would be surprised if she ran again.”

Congressional Progressive Caucus chair Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., told me on my podcast that “whether it’s her last or not, I can’t say. But she is looking at this (session) as a crucial moment and perhaps a legacy-making moment for her.”

The reaction from Pelosi spokesperson Drew Hammill: “The speaker is not on a shift, she’s on a mission.”Politics with Joe Garofoli

Part of that mission — after trying to pass Biden’s agenda — is raising money. And no Democrat is better at that than Pelosi.

In the first quarter of this year, she raised $32.4 million for Democrats, according to her campaign office. Since entering House leadership in 2002, she has raised more than $1 billion for the party. Yes, billion.

When Pelosi stops working to raise money, then we’ll know the end is nigh. Until then, keep your chihuahua on a leash.

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