An effort to recall San Francisco’s district attorney died on Wednesday, but opponents of the reform-minded prosecutor still have a chance to remove him from office.
The San Francisco Chronicle reported, “One of the two dueling efforts to oust San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin has failed, falling short of collecting the required 51,325 signatures to qualify for a special recall election, city elections officials said Wednesday.” However, according to the outlet, “A second, more well-heeled recall campaign still looms large over the progressive prosecutor, and claims to have gathered nearly the required signatures months before they’re due in October.”
Also important to note: We don't know how many of these 49K would have been counted as valid. Recall organizer @richieSF2016 said they had received several batches of fake signatures, and didn't know if they had missed others.
— Megan Cassidy (@meganrcassidy) August 11, 2021
Officials said the first campaign had submitted about 49,000 signatures. Recall organizers said they were 1,714 signatures shy of the required number.
Former mayoral candidate Richie Greenberg, a former Republican who says he is now a registered independent, launched the initial recall drive in March. He said the two separate campaigns caused confusion, along with batches of fake signatures turned in to organizers in recent weeks. On Wednesday, Greenberg reportedly blamed the second recall group for impeding his campaign.
“They’re the ones that screwed us over – there are bad, bad, bad feelings, for sure,” said Greenberg.
The San Francisco Examiner reported Greenberg’s “volunteers collected 52,990 signatures, but determined that 3,379 were either invalid or blatantly fake, filed with fictitious names such as ‘Ben Dover.’”
According to The Chronicle, Greenberg said he wouldn’t rule out collaborating with the other recall group despite the deep animosity.
Greenberg tweeted: “Let’s be clear: Chesa supporters had nothing to do with us missing the mark. They convinced no one. Don’t let them celebrate.”
What an effort. The City owes a huge gratitude to the Recall Team for the tireless work done over the months. We needed 51,325. We fell short by 1,714.
Let’s be clear: Chesa supporters had nothing to do with us missing the mark. They convinced no one. Don’t let them celebrate. pic.twitter.com/yPRj62SCXY
— Richie Greenberg (@richieSF2016) August 11, 2021
More details from The Examiner:
The news is not completely unexpected. Political consultants have predicted the first recall effort would fail, while the second would succeed simply because of funding, The Examiner previously reported. The latest campaign finance filings show the Greenberg committee collected just $277,000 in contributions as of the end of July, compared to the second recall committee’s $715,000 war chest.
Both committees started based on the perception that Boudin is making San Francisco less safe as a progressive prosecutor who seeks to reduce mass incarceration. Boudin, in response, has pointed to police data showing that overall crime is down, while certain types of crimes like homicide are up.
The second committee is fronted by politicos Mary Jung, former chair of the local Democratic Party, and Andrea Shorter, a longtime member of the Commission on the Status of Women. They started the committee to appeal to a broader range of Democrats and distance the recall from Greenberg and his Republican ties, even though they later took in dollars from deep-pocketed donors that have supported Republican causes.
The second recall group is reportedly paying signature gatherers and claims to have already collected 50,000 signatures. Greenberg’s group only used volunteers.
According to The Examiner, if the second attempt submits enough valid signatures by the October 25 deadline, a recall election could take place in June 2022.
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