In 1983, then-Mayor Dianne Feinstein faced a recall by conservative forces because of her support for gun control. Reilly was called in to develop a strategy to fight the recall and ensure that Feinstein would remain Mayor. Reilly's strategy was to have Feinstein run against the recall itself, tagging it as an expensive usurping of the voter's will. The recall was soundly defeated and Feinstein went on to win re-election in a landslide. Later, when former Vice President Walter Mondale was considering who to pick for his running mate, Reilly was a key advisor to Mayor Feinstein who was shortlisted for the vice presidential nomination. Feinstein went on to be elected to the US Senate in 1992 and won re-election in 1994, 2000, and 2006.