Newsom says recall of San Francisco D.A. Boudin was ‘so predictable’

California Gov. Gavin Newsom says he was not at all surprised that San Francisco voters recalled progressive District Attorney Chesa Boudin last week, and he decried the national attention it drew.

“That was so predictable, predictable, particularly after the school board recall,” Newsom said Friday in an interview with Fox 11 Los Angeles. “Nothing about that was surprising.”

What was unexpected was the scrutiny it attracted, Newsom said, particularly the view that it was an “arbiter of something farther reaching.”

“I thought the punditry was a little overwhelming on it,” he said.

But the governor, who served as San Francisco’s mayor from 2004 to 2011, said he understood why Boudin was decisively voted out of office in Tuesday’s recall election.

“I think the issue in San Francisco, in particular, is people want the streets cleaned up — period. Full stop. Enough,” Newsom told Elex Michaelson, the host of the political podcast and television show “The Issue Is.” “They want the streets cleaned up. They want a sense of order from the disorder they’re feeling on the streets.”

He said while many factors contributed to the state of the city, including mental health problems and open air drug use, crime was one of the most visible components.

“And tag, the D.A. was it, meaning there was some attachment of accountability and responsibility,” said Newsom, who was in Los Angeles to attend climate-related events at the Conference of the Americas hemispheric summit.

Boudin, a former public defender, was narrowly elected in 2019, pledging to hold police officers and corporations accountable. But supporters of the recall said Boudin failed to protect the city’s broader population due to inexperience and fixed ideology, and that in moving to charge fewer arrestees and emphasize diversion more he was siding with offenders over victims.

Under Boudin, prosecutors were not allowed to seek cash bail, charge juveniles as adults, or request longer sentences due to gang affiliations.

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