San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin was projected to be recalled by voters Tuesday, a loss for progressives who supported his mission of criminal justice reform.
If Boudin is faraway from his position as top prosecutor of the majority-Democratic city, Mayor London Breed will appoint an interim DA until voters weigh in again within the November election.
Boudin was elected in 2019 as a part of a movement of progressive prosecutors across the country — including Larry Krasner in Philadelphia — pushing back on many years of tough-on-crime policies that increased mass incarceration and disproportionately criminalized Black and Latinx people.
Since entering office, Boudin — a former public defender whose parents spent many years in prison — has kept his campaign guarantees of eliminating money bail, holding police accountable and diverting people from the criminal legal system.
The recall effort was led by a corporation called San Franciscans for Public Safety, which gathered over 50,000 signatures to place the recall on the ballot. The group has claimed that crime is on the rise in the town and blamed the progressive DA.
But a San Francisco Chronicle evaluation found that violent crime in San Francisco actually declined throughout the pandemic. While murders and shootings have increased lately, this tracks with trends across major U.S. cities. Most property crimes are also trending toward their pre-pandemic levels.
The recall was funded by wealthy donors, including William Oberndorf, a Republican megadonor.
A few of Boudin’s critics pointed to growing anti-Asian violence over the past two years in San Francisco, but such hateful attacks occurred in cities across the country amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Boudin’s team slammed the recall effort as a political tool getting used to reverse a reasonably won election. State legislators have pushed to reform the recall system in California, with state Sen. Steve Glazer (D) telling HuffPost last 12 months that voters want “a more democratic process” that “prevents political gamesmanship.”