Voters in ultra-liberal San Francisco voted on Tuesday to recall progressive District Attorney Chesa Boudin from office before the expiration of his term.
Boudin was a first-time candidate for political office when he successfully ran for the office in November 2019 as one of a number of progressive prosecutors who came into office around the nation. Like many others, Boudin was elected while promising to promote alternatives to imprisonment, hold police officers accountable to activists, and take steps to end the war against the illegal drug trade. He received 50.8% of the vote.
The Associated Press called the recall shortly after the polls closed on Tuesday, with 61% of the vote in favor of recall. Mayor London Breed will now select Boudin’s replacement who will serve until the next regular election takes place in November. Breed has been somewhat critical of Boudin’s time in office but stopped short of publicly endorsing the recall campaign.
Boudin said at his election return watch party that his activism for progressive criminal justice and prison reforms will continue despite the recall. He said his term marked a “movement, not a moment in history.” He said that the coalition that he has built is “deeply committed to justice” and remains “broad, diverse, and strong.”
Boudin said that his movement has “already won” because his followers recognized that America can “never incarcerate our way out of poverty.” He went on to blame the successful recall on right-wing corporate conspirators who outspent him “three to one.”
Boudin’s term was marked with surging crime in the Bay City during the COVID-19 pandemic. The populist movement to mount a recall campaign against him came amid widespread and brazen shoplifting and violent attacks against elderly city residents, most of whom were Asian Americans.
Advocates for the recall said that Boudin refused to compromise in applying his leftist agenda and was inexperienced.
As an infant, Boudin was separated from his parents who were radical leftist members of the Weather Underground and were sentenced to prison for murder as the result of a 1981 New York robbery that left two police officers and a security guard dead.
Boudin was then raised in Chicago by Weather Underground members Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn.
Boudin’s recall follows the successful recall of three progressive members of the San Francisco school board in February.