In his first interview since being recalled in an election that was covered around the country, SF DA Chesa Boudin says he hasn't ruled anything out in terms of running for DA again.
Critics are going to say that it's indicative of the frequent tone-deafness with which Chesa Boudin conducted himself in the role of SF's top prosecutor, but Boudin tells the Chronicle in a new interview that he hasn't given up on the DA's office yet — and his supporters are all for it. That includes possibly running in the November special election to choose his replacement, and/or the 2023 election when he would have been up for reelection anyway, were it not for our low-bar recall process.
It's a matter of days before Boudin will be packing his banker's boxes and vacating the SF District Attorney offices — a ten-day timeline for his leaving office begins when the Board of Supervisors certifies the June 7 election results, which they are doing today. Mayor London Breed has not yet named an interim DA replacement — and the last time she did that, quickly ahead of a special election in 2019, that DA (Suzy Loftus) lost in the election.
But are voters ready to see Boudin's name on the ballot again in five months?
"A lot of my supporters and endorsements and donors and Democratic clubs that were behind me are urging me to run now, or in 2023,” Boudin told the Chronicle yesterday. “I’m committed, as I always have been my entire life, to doing the work to support our communities, to fight for a fairer system of justice."
Many, many news outlets around the country characterized the success of the recall election as a referendum on progressive prosecutors in other cities, but that was probably a false narrative. Those in the know in SF politics know there were multiple forces working against Boudin, and this was hardly a liberals-eating-their-own situation — it was a fight that was as much about a spike in burglaries, street crime against the Asian American community here, and generally poor politicking by Boudin in the face of those problems as it was about his actual politics and prosecutions. And his animosity with the SFPD from day one probably didn't help.
But politics is politics, and when the pendulum swings against you, you can't always talk your way out of trouble with facts and figures, or even rational argument.
Boudin may not have lost by the 20-point margin initially reported after Election Night on June 7 — the final margin, with a turnout of 46% of registered voters, was more like 10 points, 55% yes and 45% no — but is that not a fair bit of public sentiment to overcome in an election just five months away? Boudin counters that he did, in fact, win more total votes in his favor than he did in his 2019 election.
"There’s a lot to think about," Boudin tells the Chronicle. “I want to spend time with my family. The weekend after the election, I did the household errands and went shopping ... things I hadn’t been able to do for months..."
Boudin, in addition to fighting his own recall, has seen the birth of his first child, the death of his mother, and the release of his long-imprisoned father all in the last eight months. So, sure, a lot to think about.
Anyway, here are some parting words from Boudin, via the Chronicle, before he steps away from his job:
"I was only in office for two months with our courts functioning at their normal capacity. And despite that, I was attacked for literally everything that’s wrong in the city, things that have been wrong for decades. And so when you put in that context, I’m actually really proud of the fact that we won a lot more votes in 2022 than we did in 2019."
Top image: Boudin at an election-night event on June 07, 2022. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images