Former San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin was announced on Thursday that he will not run for his old seat in the upcoming special election in November.
Mr. Boudin, a former public defender who won election as San Francisco’s top attorney in 2019, was defeated in a recall election in June amid frustration over crime and the state of public safety in the city.
Mr. Boudin, whose parents were members of the radical left-wing Weather Underground and were jailed for their role in a deadly robbery when he was just a toddler, was elected as a progressive reformer.
But frustration with his performance has grown as the Covid pandemic has contributed to rising crime rates in the city – even though increases in San Francisco’s crime rate mirror similar increases in cities across the US.
Despite little evidence that Mr. Boudin’s policies were responsible to increase the crime rate, a number of rich people is funded a campaign to recall him which ultimately succeeded by a margin of ten points.
But Mr. Boudin retained a devoted base of supporters who felt he was unfairly scapegoated for issues plaguing San Francisco far outside his purview, and he pointed to his successes — which included ending cash bail, establishing an innocence commission for reviewing possible wrongful convictions, routing non-violent offenders in diversion programs and prosecuting white-collar economic crime – as reasons they wanted him to stay in the role.
San Francisco Mayor London Breed, a business-friendly centrist, chose to replace Boudin with one of his fiercest critics: former district attorney Brooke Jenkins, who resigned from her role in the DA’s office last year to campaign against Budin.
In her short tenure as interim chief of the DA’s office, Ms. Jenkins has set out to reverse many of Mr. Boudin’s relatively disheartening policies. It started by firing 15 people and then withdrew the appeal agreements in a select number of drug cases. Gang sentencing enhancements and cash bail may also return.
Ms. Jenkins has been widely praised by police in San Francisco, but time will tell whether she can produce more popular results than Mr. Boudin with a tough, tough approach to crime that many familiar with the criminal justice system support. that it has been a long time. it has since been discredited in California and across the country.
Mr. Boudin did not rule out another run for office in the days after the recall election, and progressive criticism of Ms. Jenkins’ approach has fueled speculation that Mr. Boudin may try to recapture his old job with a younger, more progressive electorate. of November. .
But Thursday’s announcement put an end to that speculation.
Mr. Boudin said nearly three consecutive years of campaigning had taken a toll on his personal life and that he was unwilling to start another campaign following the recent death of his mother from cancer and his father’s recent release from prison after more than 40 years. Mr. Boudin wrote that his father needs support, as do members of his own nuclear family.
“My son is on the verge of taking his first step and speaking his first word,” Mr. Boudin wrote. “My wife’s MS research at UCSF deserves the same support she has given to my work.”
But Mr Boudin touted his achievements in office and criticized Ms Jenkins.
“I am seriously concerned with what I have seen from the current, appointed district attorney,” Mr. Boudin wrote. “We have heard no assurances that the successful programs we have implemented will continue, and indeed, we are seeing worrying signs every day that progress is slowing down.”
The content of Mr. Boudin’s statements suggests that he will likely support another reformist candidate in November, even if his name will not be on the ballot. Mr. Boudin can still run for a full, four-year term as prosecutor next year.
“I know this news will be a disappointment to many who are committed to reform,” Mr. Boudin wrote. “I assure you that I remain deeply committed to justice and to the people of San Francisco.”