The sudden resignation of D.C. Council Chairman Kwame Brown has elevated Ward 3 Councilwoman Mary Cheh, formerly the body's chair pro tempore, to the council's top post.
Cheh is expected to call a meeting for the full council to elect a new leader sometime in the next week, but she'll wield the gavel for at least a few days while legislators regroup.
Only the council's at-large members are eligible to step into Brown's post, holding down the fort until a citywide special election can be held for his seat. Of those four members -- Michael Brown, David Catania, Phil Mendelson and Vincent Orange -- John A. Wilson Building sources said they expect Mendelson will be the choice of his peers.
Ward 6 Councilman Tommy Wells said, though, that succession was not foremost on members' minds. Asked whether lawmakers discussed the next chairman during a brief, private meeting, Wells replied, "Definitely not."
Mendelson, a Democrat, declined to comment.
Whomever the full council selects to take over the chairmanship would seize the gavel immediately after the vote. The new chairman would also have to designate his own chair pro tempore. Cheh is not eligible for that job.