Chesa Boudin wins tightly contested San Francisco DA race
Chesa Boudin has won the election to become San Francisco’s next district attorney. His opponent, Suzy Loftus, conceded Saturday afternoon following four days of ballot counting in San Francisco’s ranked choice voting system.
With only 1,200 votes left to count, Boudin found himself ahead by a slim margin of 85,950 to Loftus’s 83,511. Loftus was acting as interim DA, but had only been appointed to the position by San Francisco Mayor London Breed 17 days before the election following the abrupt departure of DA George Gascón, who stepped down so he could run for Los Angeles district attorney. Breed had previously endorsed Loftus in the race.
“The people of San Francisco have sent a powerful and clear message,” Boudin said in a statement. “It’s time for radical change to how we envision justice. I’m humbled to be a part of this movement that is unwavering in its demand for transformation.”‘
“I didn’t win the race – but we won the support of so many San Franciscans who are demanding that our city work more effectively together to build safety,” Loftus tweeted after conceding. “Congratulations to Chesa Boudin. I will work to ensure a smooth and immediate transition.”
Boudin, a public defender and former translator for the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez’s administration, ran on a progressive platform of criminal justice reform, including the elimination of cash bail, ending mass incarceration, and eliminating racial bias in the criminal justice system. Boudin also said he would demand the police be held accountable for police brutality.
The San Francisco Police Officers Association responded by spending $600,000 to launch attack ads calling Boudin “the number one choice of criminals and gang members,” according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
“Unfortunately, the election results mean that San Francisco residents will have to suffer through another four years of the George Gascon style policies that have plagued our city and decimated public safety,” The SF POA said in a statement responding to Boudin’s win.
Boudin learned of his victory while flying back to San Francisco from New York, where he was visiting his incarcerated father. Boudin’s parents, Kathy Boudin and David Gilbert, were both members of Weather Underground. They were both convicted for participating in the 1981 Brink’s armored car robbery in Rockland County, New York,. They acted as getaway car drivers. One Brink’s guard and two Nanuet police officers were killed in the robbery. Two other Brink’s employees and a third police officer were injured.
Kathy Boudin pleaded guilty to felony murder and was sentenced to 20 years to life in prison. She was serving at the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility until September of 2003 when she was granted parole. Gilbert is currently serving three consecutive sentences of 25 years to life, after being found guilty at his trial. Gilbert, currently 75 years old, will not be illegible for parole until the year 2058.
Boudin was only 14 months old at the time of the robbery. After his parents were arrested, he was raised in Chicago by Weather Underground co-founder Bill Ayers and his wife Bernardine Dohrn, who was also a leader of the organization.
Politicians who endorsed Boudin include Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner and Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont. Both tweeted out congratulatory messages after Boudin’s win.