Former SF Assistant DA Ryan Khojasteh was fired by Brooke Jenkins right after she was appointed in July 2022. Now he’s declared he’s running to unseat her in the November 2024 election.

When San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins was appointed in July 2022, one of her first moves was to fire 15 office prosecutors. One of them was a Chesa Boudin hire named Ryan Khojasteh, who blamed his firing on an SFGate op-ed he’d written declaring, “Chesa Boudin's successor should continue these reforms.”

And then after he was fired, he wrote a Chronicle op-ed entitled “Brooke Jenkins just fired me and 14 others. I have no idea how the D.A.’s office will run without us.” So the young man tends to not go quietly.

Case in point: The Chronicle reports that Khojasteh has now declared he’s running against Jenkins in the November 5, 2024 election. He is thus far the only other declared candidate, though a Jenkins campaign spokesperson confirmed to the Chronicle that she is running for re-election in November. Meanwhile, Khojasteh plans to file to run today.

“People are frustrated. They feel unsafe,” Khojasteh said in an interview with Mission Local. “And they want not only something to believe in, but they want to have hope that our city will be able to turn the corner in a responsible way.”

It seems Khojasteh has the obvious, built-in disadvantage that the kid is only 30 years old. (As Mission Local notes, he’d be the youngest DA in the country if elected.) On top of that, he has the baggage of having been hired by the recalled Chesa Boudin, plus he’s currently working on the staff of Alameda County DA Pamela Price, who is also currently facing her own recall attempt.

But he may have some advantages too. He makes the compelling case that there has actually been an increase in violent crime and drug-overdose deaths under Jenkins’s tenure. And at first glance at least, he seems to be able to triangulate a case that both pushes for public safety while advocating for decreasing incarceration rates (perhaps more effectively than than Chesa Boudin was ever able to).

And Jenkins will always have ethical issues to exploit. Her blaming the judges for cases she’s lost is an easy target for a challenger to make hay of, and there are cases like that of Banko Brown, where her declining to file charges against the shooter was an unpopular move. Plus there will always be some lingering mistrust after Jenkins was paid by a group that bankrolled the Boudin recall after claiming she’d been a volunteer.  

Ryan Khojasteh has run before, running against Nancy Pelosi in 2018 (he got 4.6% of the vote). But out of the gate for this race, he’s already lined up endorsements from former SF DA George Gascón, former state Senator Mark Leno, and former state Assemblymember Tom Ammiano.

So Khojasteh may have some retail political skills, maybe more than the candidates who ran against Jenkins in November 2022 did. He is unproven, unvetted, and pretty young, but he might find ways to take advantage of Jenkins’s weaknesses, as she’s hardly a perfect candidate either.

Related: DA Jenkins’s Office Disqualified From Murder Case, and Boy Is She Upset at the Chronicle’s Coverage [SFist]

Image: ryankhojasteh via Instagram