Asian American voters help oust San Francisco DA Chesa Boudin in recall election

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San Francisco voters successfully ousted District Attorney Chesa Boudin from office last night in a recall election.

The recall passed with roughly 60% of the vote in favor of Proposition H.

During his two-and-half-year tenure, Boudin implemented some of the most progressive measures nationwide for criminal justice reform, as he had promised, including the elimination of cash bail, increased accountability for police and efforts to reduce the number of people sent to prison.

The election came down to a battle between progressive Democrats who credited Boudin as championing a key movement against mass incarceration, and Democrats and Republicans who blamed the surge of hate crimes during the pandemic on the DA.

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Asian Americans, many of whom were from the city’s Chinese community, have been a leading force for the recall, citing the District Attorney as ineffective in his efforts to reform the justice system.

Bay area Asian Pacific Democratic Club put out a public endorsement of Proposition H on their Twitter.

“We are tired of having attacks on our seniors dismissed, delegitimized, ignored” Lee had written in a tweet prior to the election outcome. “It’s not progressive or Democratic to talk at, instead of listen to, communities of color.”

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Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) member Mary Jung urged voters on Monday to “vote in memory of Hanako” so that they could “bring back a safer SF and still have CJR (Criminal Justice Reform).”

Hanako Abe, 27, was hit and killed on a crosswalk on New Year’s Eve of last year by 45-year-old Troy McAlister, who was out on parole for a series of serious charges.

Her family filed a wrongful death claim against San Francisco and the District Attorney’s Office, with her mother commenting that “it is a mistake not to be punished and to be a person who is not ashamed of committing a crime.”

Despite Boudin’s efforts to prove his support for the AAPI community, including the unveiling of a new victim service unit, they ultimately fell short.

San Francisco’s recall of its progressive DA will inevitably influence the coming elections, showing what can happen to progressive ideas in even the most liberal corners of the nation.

With 67 percent of AAPI voting in favor of ousting Boudin, the election also undoubtedly communicates where Asian Americans stand on issues of crime and punishment, something unlikely to go unnoticed for Democratic candidates building their campaigns.

Featured Image via TedxTalks

Editor's Note (6/9/22): A previous version of this story incorrectly cited Edwin Lee, who is the deceased former mayor of San Francisco, as the author of a recent Twitter post. The article has been updated to say that the Asian Pacific Democratic Club was the one to put out the statement.