San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin was elected in 2019 as a face of the reimagining of public safety, but he faces a recall Tuesday potentially dealing the movement a setback in one of the deepest blue areas in the U.S.
In just 2½ years, Boudin has seen the luster wear off, including his own prosecutors quitting and now helping to seek his ouster.
"Never would I put all this on Chesa's shoulders," former prosecutor in Boudin's office Brooke Jenkins, who is now volunteering as spokeswoman for Boudin's recall election, told the L.A. Times. "But citizens expect that their D.A. is going to try to serve as a deterrent to these criminals.
"He has never shown an interest in doing that — not verbally, and not in his actions."
San Francisco's 500,000 registered voters (just 6% registered are Republicans) will decide whether Boudin loses his job amid crises of homelessness, drug addiction, and crime. Polls done for the recall campaign show a 10-point edge to a recall (48%) versus keeping him in office (38%), with 14% undecided, according to the Times.
If recalled, San Francisco Mayor London Breed will appoint a successor.
"It's an attempt to redo the 2019 election," Jim Ross, an anti-recall campaign consultant, told the Times. "But instead of making Chesa run against another candidate, where people have a contrast and they can see their records, they can see their policies, they're making him run against himself."
Boudin has a checkered past, having worked as a translator for Venezuelan socialist President Hugo Chávez after graduating as a Rhodes scholar from Yale, according to the Times.
More markedly, Boudin's parents were convicted felons and former members of the Weather Underground left-wing group. They were imprisoned when Boudin was a child for a 1981 armed robbery in New York that left three people dead, including two police officers.
Kathy Boudin, his mother, received parole in 2003 and died of cancer last month. David Gilbert, his father, was released on parole last year.
San Francisco has seen a rash of smash-and-grab crimes under Boudin, including a 47% increase in burglaries and 36% increase in auto theft, according to the Times. Also, homicides have increased since 2019.
Officials told the Times there have been 22% of Republicans voters to have already returned their ballots, compared to 17% of all registered voters.
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