San Francisco Ousts Liberal DA in Heated Recall



San Francisco on Tuesday has voted to recall progressive District Attorney Chesa Boudin in a heated campaign that bitterly divided Democrats over crime, policing, and public safety reform. Partial returns showed Boudin losing in what is expected to be a low turnout election. Early returns showed 61% of votes in favor of the recall, the AP reports. Boudin, 41, was a first-time political candidate who narrowly won office in November 2019 as part of a national wave of progressive prosecutors who pledged to seek alternatives to incarceration, end the racist war on drugs, and hold police officers to account.

But his time in office coincided with a frustrating and frightening pandemic in which viral footage of brazen shoplifting and attacks against mostly older Asian American people drove some residents to mount a recall campaign of the former public defender and son of left-wing activists. Recall proponents said Boudin was ideologically inflexible and inexperienced, often siding with criminals instead of victims. Recall opponents said the recall was a Republican power grab meant to undermine public safety reforms. The recall campaign against Boudin was backed by many of the same people who successfully ousted three liberal members of the San Francisco school board in February. More from primaries in California Tuesday:

  • Gov. Gavin Newsom cruised to an easy victory, advancing to the November general election where he will be an overwhelming favorite to defeat a little-known Republican state senator.
  • In the US Senate race, Democratic incumbent Alex Padilla had an equally easy time advancing to a November runoff. Padilla was on the ballot twice—once to complete the final few months of Kamala Harris’ term (he was appointed to the seat when she became VP) and another in a race for a full six-year term that begins in January. Early vote totals showed Republican attorney Mark Meuser was second in both races.
  • California’s Democratic attorney general was on pace to face the Republican Party’s endorsed candidate in the November general election in a state that overwhelmingly favors Democrats, based on early ballot returns Tuesday. Attorney General Rob Bonta, the only Democrat in the five-way primary field, advanced after winning 58% of the vote shortly after polls closed. He was trailed by the GOP’s endorsed candidate, Nathan Hochman, with 17%. The top two vote-getters advance to the November election under California law, no matter their party affiliation.
  • Democratic US Rep. Karen Bass and billionaire developer Rick Caruso advanced to the November runoff for Los Angeles mayor.

(Read more California primary stories.)

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