Chesa Boudin Is Going to Face a Recall Election in June

Photo: San Francisco Chronicle via Gett

San Francisco district attorney Chesa Boudin, one of the nation’s most prominent progressive prosecutors, is officially going to have to defend his seat in a recall election next June.

On Tuesday, the San Francisco Department of Elections certified a petition to add a special recall election to the midterm primary held on June 7, after organizers hoping to remove Boudin delivered 83,000 signatures in favor of the recall — well over the required 51,325-person threshold.

If voters do want to get rid of Boudin, San Francisco mayor London Breed would appoint an interim DA until the regular election in 2023. In 2019, Boudin won by fewer than 3,000 votes in the second round of a ranked-choice election. After campaigning on police accountability and the decriminalization of poverty, he has faced adversaries on his right flank, as fears of rising crime have resulted in calls for a traditional crackdown. “We don’t need two public defenders,” public-safety advocate Andrea Shorter told New York in August. “And right now, we have two public defenders: one that’s the public defender, and one that is a public defender in the district attorney’s office.”

Boudin — the son of a Weather Underground member whose sentence was commuted by former New York governor Andrew Cuomo in August — is the latest target in the recall fever sweeping California. As New York’s Ed Kilgore explains, the process to initiate a Golden State recall is pretty easy to execute, requiring as little as 10 percent of the number of voters in the last election for the office in question; recall efforts serve as an outlet for the intense backlash to pandemic restrictions; and Republicans see the exercise as one of their better chances to unseat a Democrat in an overwhelmingly blue state. In September, Governor Gavin Newsom beat a recall effort by a 30-point margin; the entire operation was estimated to have cost $450 million.

Chesa Boudin Is Going to Face a Recall Election in June