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News + PoliticsSome local Democrats oppose the Newsom recall—but not the Boudin recall

Some local Democrats oppose the Newsom recall—but not the Boudin recall

Here are the people who argue that Newsom should stay in office—even if they have policy disagreements—but won't say the same about Chesa Boudin.


It now appears that the first attempt to recall District Attorney Chesa Boudin won’t qualify for the ballot. That was the one run by Richie Greenberg, a Republican. But the second recall attempt, run by Andrea Shorter and Mary Jung, has raised a huge amount of money—and when you have millions of dollars, you can put almost anything on the ballot.

Pretty much every single elected Democrat in San Francisco has come out against the recall of Gavin Newsom. Even people who have serious political disagreements with Newsom argue that he was duly elected, has done nothing so horrible that it rises to the standard of a recall, that this is a waste of money—and that it’s the only way the Republicans can get a governor in California.

Lots of local Democrats stand with Boudin—but some don’t.

(By the way: I am hearing more and more reports that Sen. Dianne Feinstein may be unable to finish her term. A GOP governor would appoint a GOP senator—who would otherwise never get elected in this state— upending the Democrats control of that chamber, at least for the next critical year).

But some of those same local Democrats, even those who describe themselves as progressive Democrats, have refused to take the same position on the Boudin recall.

The argument that an elected official who has been accused of no impropriety shouldn’t be recalled just on a whim by people who lost the election last time seems to apply just fine to Newsom, but not to Boudin.

Some SF Democrats have been very clear from the start. Assemblymember Phil Ting told me that “I am vehemently opposed and have been since it was first raised.” Among those listed on the Stand With Chesa website: BART Board Member Bevan Dufty, who wrote a piece for the BAR about his position; Supervisors Aaron Peskin, Connie Chan, Dean Preston, Hillary Ronen, Gordon Mar, Matt Haney, and Shamann Walton.

Sup. Myrna Melgar isn’t listed on the site, but she told me: “I never support recalls unless an elected official has committed a crime of otherwise shown malfeasance. They are a waste of time and money.”

So that leaves three supes. Catherine Stefani and Ahsha Safai haven’t responded.

But Rafael Mandelman did. He told me he hasn’t take a position. I asked why the Boudin recall is different from the Newsom recall, and he said:

One has to do with what’s at stake in the recall of a Democratic governor (not just a potential Senate appointment that could determine the success or failure of the Biden administration). The other has to do with immediacy. The threat of the Newsom recall is real and imminent. Ay potential Boudin recall is not.

He continued:

I and my office have been able to work productively with Boudin and his team on several matters, but I still do have questions I need to answer for myself and many of my Boudin-skeptical constituents before I sign on to his re-election (or a campaign against a recall that may or may not materialize).

State Assemblymember David Chiu told me he hasn’t taken a position.

State Sen. Scott Wiener hasn’t responded to my text asking him for a position.

So at this point, as far as I can tell, for the record, local Democrats who oppose the Newsom recall but are not publicly opposing the Boudin recall include Mandelman, Chiu, Wiener, Stefani, and Safai.

Oh, and Mayor London Breed.

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Tim Redmond
Tim Redmond has been a political and investigative reporter in San Francisco for more than 30 years. He spent much of that time as executive editor of the Bay Guardian. He is the founder of 48hills.

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