By Elina Lingappa
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Officials here announced that the first effort to recall San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin has failed to garner enough verified signatures to prompt a special election.
Richie Greenberg, the former Republican mayoral candidate leading the initial recall effort, expressed disappointment at the outcome.
“I’m pissed as hell but proud of our recall team; they are amazing people,” he said.
However, Greenberg’s campaign is followed closely by a second recall effort. This one is led by moderate democrats Andrea Shorter and Mary Jung. The newer campaign is backed by big money, an advantage which is becoming increasingly clear.
The Greenberg campaign garnered $277,000 in total, reflective of its volunteer-led nature.
However, the second effort has raised $715,000 since April. According to the San Francisco Examiner, $670,000 of this is from eight individual donors alone, including major donors to the Republican party and board members of large equity and investment companies.
Not only is the second campaign lacking the grassroots nature of the first, but it also displays a lack of transparency in funds and affiliations.
As the Vanguard covered earlier this month, journalists have found much of the Shorter-Jung recall campaign pulled its large quantities of money from affiliated PACs. Such PACs include Neighborhoods for a Better San Francisco, a conservative committee founded to oppose progressive measures on bills in 2020.
The big money endorsement of this recall campaign has attracted criticism from both sides.
Greenberg, while he says he will sign the second petition, is not happy with the position they’ve taken up. He says he feels the second effort blocked the initial one from truly blooming.
“It would be expected, in the end, that we would have to support them,” he said. “That’s the hardest pill to swallow.”
Critics of all the recall efforts feel that there is a deeper problem at play.
For one, the recall campaigns are a few of dozens playing out across the nation, which have exclusively targeted newly-elected progressive politicians. Many political figures and journalists believe these efforts to be right-wing attempts to override democratically-elected progressive officials.
Julie Edwards, a political consultant leading a committee to defend Boudin, echoes this sentiment. She sees the second recall campaign as the same phenomena, this time pushed by moderate Democrats.
“What’s happening in San Francisco is happening all across the nation,” charged Edwards. “The reality is that despite their branding, the second committee is very much a part of this.”
Additionally, the second recall campaign’s stark contrast to the first demonstrates the financial nature of politics today.
“The political consultant class will tell you that in California, if you spend enough money you can get enough signatures for anything,” DA Boudin said. “Time will tell if that’s true in San Francisco in 2021.”
The second campaign currently has 44,000 signatures. They have until late October to collect more than 51,000 verified signatures. If successful, the recall will appear on the ballot in June, 2022.