Morning Digest: Pennsylvania Supreme Court race could help Democrats keep majority for many years

By contrast, the biggest backers of Democrat Maria McLaughlin, who sits on Pennsylvania’s Superior Court, have been labor unions and trial lawyers, whose PACs have put in about $900,000 each. Each candidate has also received considerable support from their respective state parties, with $300,000 from Democrats for McLaughlin and $500,000 from the GOP for Brobson. (Both the Superior Court and the Commonwealth Court are appellate bodies; the former hears traditional criminal and civil appeals, while the latter handles cases brought against the state.)

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The biggest news in recent days concerns a negative ad Brobson is running that the state Bar Association has demanded he take down. The spot charges that McLaughlin “chose to void the guilty plea of a drunk driver who admitted to killing a pregnant woman and her unborn child,” but as the Philadelphia Inquirer‘s Andrew Seidman explains, McLaughlin “hadn’t declared the defendant not guilty or thrown out the case.” Rather, she joined another appellate judge in saying the driver had received ineffective assistance of counsel and should be tried again. (The defendant pleaded guilty a second time and is currently in prison.)

While an attack like this might seem unremarkable in today’s politics, as Seidman notes, candidates for judicial office are obligated to observe much higher standards for accuracy and completeness. That includes, per a a letter from the bar to Brobson, an admonition that campaigns “refrain from making statements that might be subject to misinterpretation or distortion” and “should not omit or obscure information necessary to prevent misinterpretation.” In other words, anyone running for a judgeship is required to provide the context that candidates for all other offices always omit in their ads.

That’s because judges must not only adhere to strict codes of ethics, they’re also obligated to follow the law when issuing rulings, whether they agree with the outcome or not. As one law professor said to Seidman, “Judges are sometimes obligated to vote for something neither they nor their constituents want.” It’s also a good reminder of why electing judges is such a terrible idea—so terrible that only two other countries do so (Japan and Switzerland, neither of which does it to the extent that many states such as Pennsylvania do). Brobson has rejected the bar’s demands, though there’s no word as to whether the association might rescind the “highly recommended” rating it issued to him earlier this year.

For now, though, our system of judicial elections is what we’ve got—and in Pennsylvania, Democrats have done an exceptional job in recent years in putting it to their advantage. As recently as 2015, Republicans enjoyed a majority on the state Supreme Court, to which candidates are elected on a partisan basis. But mindful of the court’s power, especially over redistricting, Democrats and their allies made a major, successful push to flip two open GOP seats that year to take a 5-2 advantage.

Since Republicans are playing defense (Justice Thomas Saylor will meet the mandatory retirement age of 75 this year), they can’t alter the court’s composition even if they win next week. The soonest they could take back the court is 2025, when the Democrats who won in 2015 will face retention elections, but a GOP loss in November would make that task even harder and potentially push a possible Republican majority to 2027 or beyond.


AL Redistricting: Alabama’s Republican-run legislature released draft congressional and legislative maps on Monday. The congressional map would retain six Republican seats and one majority-Black Democratic district, the 7th, though since the state’s population is about two-sevenths African American, it could easily sustain a second Black district. It’s a certainty, however, that Republicans would not draw such a district, and it’s unlikely that the extremely conservative federal judiciary would find that the Voting Rights Act requires them to do so in a lawsuit filed last month seeking to compel such a district.

AZ, DE, SD Redistricting: A few maps have recently been introduced by official sources that we hadn’t previously covered: 1) legislative maps in Arizona (which uses the same map for both chambers); 2) a state House map in Delaware; 2) a legislative map in South Dakota (which, with small exceptions, also uses the same map for both chambers). A huge thanks to Jay Fierman of the Redistrict Network, whose Twitter account is a number-one must-follow for staying on top of all redistricting news.

IL Redistricting: Illinois Democrats have released a second draft congressional map that differs from their first proposal in a number of key ways.

It’s still an aggressive gerrymander that would in all likelihood send 14 Democrats and three Republicans to Congress, but it shores up two Democratic districts that were somewhat marginal in the first map: The 14th would go from a 53-45 win for Joe Biden to a 55-43 Biden victory, per Dave’s Redistricting App, while the 17th would shift from 52-46 for Biden to 53-44. However, while mapmakers strung together several blue cities in the 17th District to ensure it leans Democratic, they still left some blue turf in several of those cities in neighboring red districts instead, likely to minimize the number of split counties. (They did the same in the 13th, about which more below.)

A third Democratic seat that could have been at-risk under the initial plan, the Chicago-area 3rd, would be radically reconfigured into a plurality Latino district that would have gone for Biden 68-30 instead of 52-46. As a result, Democratic Rep. Marie Newman and Sean Casten would likely wind up paired in the revamped 6th District, though most of it would be new turf to both: Newman would represent about 40% of the new 6th while Casten would represent about 25%. The map might also induce Republican Rep. Rodney Davis to run in the considerably redrawn 15th District, a deliberate GOP vote-sink, rather than in his 13th District, which would (as in the first draft) have voted 55-43 for Biden.

TX Redistricting: As expected, Gov. Greg Abbott signed Texas’ new congressional and legislative maps into law on Monday, a week after his fellow Republicans in the legislature finalized them. All three maps will lock in gerrymandered GOP majorities for years to come, even if Republican candidates fail to win a majority of the vote, at the expense of the state’s large and growing Black, Latino, and Asian American populations. Latino voting rights advocates had already filed a federal lawsuit challenging the new districts for discriminating against their communities even before Abbott approved them.

Redistricting: Bookmark alert! Stay on top of where things stand with redistricting—both congressional and legislative—in every state with our new tracker. It tells you where in the process each state is, with links to latest developments and final legislation, and we update it daily. You can also peer back a decade on the tracker’s second tab to see when each state adopted its final congressional map during the 2011-12 cycle (notwithstanding any ensuing litigation). We’ll be keeping the main tab current until the last state enacts its last map, so bookmark our tracker today.


MO-Sen: The Republican firm Remington Research Group’s new GOP primary poll for the Missouri Scout newsletter finds disgraced former Gov. Eric Greitens edging out state Attorney General Eric Schmitt 27-25 as Rep. Vicky Hartzler takes third with 19%. Last month, Remington had Schmitt enjoying a tiny 28-27 lead over Greitens, while Hartzler was similarly situated at 17%. Greitens himself released a Fabrizio Lee survey less than two weeks ago that had him beating the attorney general 36-17.

OH-Sen: Politico reports that former state Treasurer Josh Mandel’s allies at the Club for Growth and USA Freedom Fund have each dropped $470,000 on ad campaigns against one of his Republican primary foes, venture capitalist J.D. Vance. The spots make use of 2016 footage of Vance saying, “I’m a Never Trump guy,” as well as a screenshot of Vance tweeting about his party’s nominee, “​​My god what an idiot.” Vance, like his new enemies at the Club, has since reinvented himself as a Trump true believer.

PA-Sen: Army veteran Sean Parnell has publicized an OnMessage survey that gives him a 27-7 Republican primary lead over 2018 lieutenant governor nominee Jeff Bartos, with a 57% majority undecided. The release came one day after CNN reported that some Republicans feared that the Trump-backed Parnell would be a weak nominee because of an ongoing divorce and custody battle between the candidate and his estranged wife, Laurie Parnell.

Bartos himself made this argument last month when he publicized that Laurie Parnell filed two temporary protection-from-abuse orders against Sean Parnell in 2017 and 2018, both of which were later expunged. OnMessage, though, is arguing that Bartos’ attacks have badly backfired, saying  that “over 50% of primary voters are less likely to vote for Jeff because he has engaged in them.”


NM-Gov: Mark Ronchetti, who was the 2020 Republican nominee for Senate, said Friday he “hope[s] to have a final decision by next week” about whether to challenge Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham. That statement came the day after Ronchetti’s website was updated to feature a logo that included the word “governor” just below the would-be candidate’s name, only for the site to get taken down soon thereafter; hours later, the local news channel KRQE announced he’d resigned as the station’s meteorologist.

RI-Gov: State House Minority Leader Blake Filippi told WPRI’s Ted Nesi that he planned to decide by the end of the year whether he’d seek the Republican nomination for governor. Filippi said that he could make up his mind in mid-to-late November before adding, “But who knows?”

VA-Gov: Two Republican firms show things tight ahead of next week’s general election. KAConsulting, which is Kellyanne Conway’s new outfit, has Republican Glenn Youngkin outpacing Democrat Terry McAuliffe 43-41; KA’s September poll, which was also done for the conservative Presidential Coalition, had McAuliffe up 46-42. Cygnal, meanwhile, shows a 48-48 deadlock.

Youngkin, for his part, is running a new ad starring Laura Murphy, a parent who in 2012 tried to get Toni Morrison’s Pulitzer Prize-winning classic “Beloved” banned from Fairfax County Public Schools. The spot, not surprisingly, doesn’t identify the book, which details how a Black mother killed her young daughter to protect her from slavery. Instead, Murphy tells the audience that she took action, “When my son showed me his reading assignment, my heart sunk. It was some of the most explicit material you could imagine.”

Also coming to Youngkin’s aid is conservative megadonor Richard Uihlein’s Restoration PAC, which Politico reports is spending $1.5 million on an ad campaign painting McAuliffe as weak on crime.


AK-AL: Businessman Nick Begich III, who hails from one of Alaska’s most prominent Democratic families, said Monday that he’d run as a Republican against GOP Rep. Don Young, who has represented the entire state in the House since 1973. Alaska will be using its new top-four primary system for the first time in 2022 in place of its old traditional partisan primary: All the candidates will run on one primary ballot and the top four vote-getters regardless of party will advance to the general election, where voters will be able to rank their picks using ranked-choice voting.

Begich served as a co-chair of Young’s re-election bid just one year ago (his campaign manager also ran the congressman’s last bid), but he explained this week, “What I’m hearing from Alaskans all over the state is that they’re ready for some new leadership.” The challenger also took a shot at the 88-year-old incumbent, who announced in April that he was running for a 26th term, by saying, “The congressman, I have a tremendous amount of respect for him. But he’s older than Joe Biden, and he’s missed a lot of votes recently.”

Begich is the grandson and namesake of the late Rep. Nick Begich, the Democrat that Young himself challenged in 1972. The plane carrying the elder Begich, House Majority Leader Hale Boggs, and two others disappeared in Alaska weeks ahead of Election Day and was never recovered despite a massive search effort. Begich ended up winning 56-44 but was legally declared dead the next month, and Young went on to narrowly win the 1973 special election to succeed him.

The Begich family has included other Last Frontier Democratic luminaries, including two of Nick Begich III’s uncles, former Sen. ​​Mark Begich and current state Senate Minority Leader Tom Begich. The new House candidate, though, says that he and his mother are Republicans while his father, Nick Begich II, is a Libertarian.

P.S. This isn’t the first time that Young has faced an intra-party challenge from a descendent of one of his Democratic rivals. In 1980, Young easily turned back a general election challenge from Pat Parnell, who would go on to win one term in the state House. Twenty-eight years later, Young learned that he would face his old foe’s son, Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell (not to be confused with the 2022 Pennsylvania Senate candidate), in the GOP primary. The congressman responded, “Sean, congratulations. I beat your dad and I’m going to beat you,” and he went on to pull off a tight 304-vote victory.

FL-13: St. Pete Polls’ new Republican survey for Florida Politics shows 2020 nominee Anna Paulina Luna, who has Donald Trump’s endorsement, taking 37% of the vote in the current 13th Congressional District; Amanda Makki, who is running again after losing to Luna last year, is a distant second with 6%.

FL-20: Campaign finance reports are in covering the period from July 1 to Oct. 13, and we’ve collected all the numbers for each of the notable Democrats competing in next week’s primary to succeed the late Rep. Alcee Hastings in this safely blue seat.

  • Businesswoman Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick: $18,000 raised, additional $1.4 million self-funded, $1.4 million spent, $57,000 cash-on-hand.
  • State Rep. Bobby DuBose: $192,000 raised, $276,000 spent, $119,000 cash-on-hand
  • State Rep. Omari Hardy: $77,000 raised, $87,000 spent, $58,000 cash-on-hand
  • Broward County Commissioner ​​Dale Holness: $276,000 raised, $329,000 spent, -$53,000 cash-on-hand
  • Broward County Commissioner Barbara Sharief: $72,000 raised, additional $526,000 self-funded, $547,000 spent, $206,000 cash-on-hand.
  • Former Palm Beach County Commissioner Priscilla Taylor: $32,000 raised, additional $23,000 self-funded, $64,000 spent, $12,000 cash-on-hand
  • State Sen. Perry Thurston: $105,000 raised, additional $70,000 self-funded, $414,000 spent, $13,000 cash-on-hand

The top spender by far is Cherfilus-McCormick, who badly lost the 2018 and 2020 primaries to Hastings. However, while her FEC reports show her self-funding a total of $3.7 million of her own money on her new campaign, she hasn’t spent nearly that much. Primary School notes that Cherfilus-McCormick took back $2 million of a previous loan early in the quarter, and she later made a new loan of $1.4 million over the subsequent months.  

It takes just a simple plurality of the vote to win the Democratic nomination, and no one has released any polling in months to indicate if there’s any frontrunner. Major outside groups also haven’t spent much in what’s been a pretty low-key race.  

IL-03: Two Democrats have expressed interest in running for the proposed 3rd District, which would have a Latino plurality under the map that legislative Democrats released over the weekend (see our IL Redistricting item above). Chicago Alderman Gilbert Villegas told Politico he was thinking about campaigning for this constituency, but said he wouldn’t decide until a final map is passed. State Sen. Omar Aquino, who chairs the Senate Redistricting Committee, likewise said, “It’s a serious conversation I’d need to have with my family.”

MD-04, MD-AG: Maryland Rep. Anthony Brown announced Monday that he would run statewide to succeed his fellow Democrat, retiring state Attorney General Brian Frosh, rather than seek a fourth term in Congress. Brown’s decision opens up his 4th Congressional District, which is dominated by Prince George’s County in the D.C. suburbs.

Joe Biden won Brown’s constituency 79-19, and there’s little question it will remain heavily blue turf after the Democratic-controlled legislature completes redistricting. Democrats should also have no trouble holding the A.G.’s post in a state that backed Joe Biden 65-32, especially because Republicans haven’t won it since 1918.

There could be a crowded primary to succeed Brown, and a few are already taking action. Del. Jazz Lewis on Monday filed with the FEC for a potential bid, a move that came days after former Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Glenn Ivey, who lost the 2016 primary for Congress to Brown, did the same thing.

Maryland Matters mentions former Rep. Donna Edwards and Prince George’s County Council Chair Calvin Hawkins as potential candidates, while the Washington Post name-drops Prince George’s County Council member Derrick Leon Davis and state Sen. Melony Griffith.

It’s rare, though not unheard of, for a House member to give up their seat to run for state attorney general (Minnesota Democrat Keith Ellison successfully made the switch in 2018), but Brown has been interested in this post for a long time. The congressman himself told reporters Friday, “Some people may not remember, but 15 years ago when I came back from Iraq, I was actually running for attorney general, and then I joined Martin O’Malley as his lieutenant governor.” The O’Malley-Brown ticket went on to win the 2006 gubernatorial race, and Brown was initially the clear favorite when he ran to succeed O’Malley in 2014.

However, while Brown decisively won the primary against Attorney General Doug Gansler (who is running for governor again this cycle), he faced an unexpectedly tough general election campaign against Republican Larry Hogan in this blue state. Fellow Democrats criticized their nominee for allowing Hogan to define the last eight years of Democratic governance as a failure, and they also argued that Brown’s role managing the state’s bumpy Obamacare rollout harmed him. Brown’s intra-party critics further criticized him for focusing on social issues at a time when the economy was the defining issue.

Hogan and his allies, meanwhile, argued that the state was overtaxed, and they trained much of their ire on what they dubbed the “rain tax.” This policy, which supporters gave the unexciting title “stormwater remediation fee,” referred to a tax Democrats imposed on owners of impervious surfaces like driveways and parking lots, which don’t absorb rainwater and instead generate runoff that becomes polluted, harming drinking water and the Chesapeake Bay. It was still a surprise, though, when Hogan won 52-47, a victory that made him only the second Maryland Republican elected governor in the previous 50 years.

Brown quickly got a shot at redemption, however, when Edwards gave up the 4th District to unsuccessfully run for the Senate in 2016. Brown faced a primary against Ivey, who was the top fundraiser in this race and whose wife was Gansler’s 2014 running mate, and Del. Joseline Peña-Melnyk, who had the backing of EMILY’s List.

While plenty of vocal Democrats remained angry at Brown over what had happened the previous cycle, early polls (including an Ivey survey) gave Brown the edge, a good indication that primary voters still liked him. Brown also took out a $400,000 loan late in the contest that allowed him to outspend his opponents in the homestretch. (Weirdly, Brown wrote the check even though he still hadn’t paid off the $500,000 loan he owed to the Laborers Political Education Fund from his last race.) Ultimately, Brown beat Ivey 42-34, and he had no trouble in the fall or in either of his next two campaigns.

MS-04: State Sen. Brice Wiggins announced Monday that he would wage a Republican primary campaign against Rep. Steven Palazzo, who is facing an ethics investigation into charges that he illegally used campaign funds for personal purposes. Wiggins focused on those allegations in his kickoff, saying, “We should all be angry that our own member of Congress is under investigation for misappropriating funds as well as using his position to provide unethical and immoral favors to family and friends.”

Palazzo already had three notable GOP primary foes, two of whom are self-funding, in this safely red seat that includes all of the Mississippi Gulf Coast. A runoff would take place should no one earn a majority of the vote, so a crowded field may not work out well for the incumbent.

Palazzo himself raised $65,000 during the third quarter and ended September with $305,000 on-hand. Jackson County Sheriff Mike Ezell took in a slightly larger $68,000 during this time, and he had $152,000 in the bank. Banker Clay Wagner, meanwhile, raised $62,000 from donors and self-funded an additional $150,000, which left him with $212,000 in the bank.

The best-financed candidate, finally, is someone we hadn’t previously mentioned. Carl Boyanton campaigned in the 2020 primary and, despite loaning himself $191,000 during that campaign, took fourth with just 9% of the vote. Boyanton’s back for another try and has already thrown down $500,000 for this effort, and he ended the quarter with a $536,000 war chest.

PA-18: Pittsburgh City Councilor Corey O’Connor last week didn’t quite rule out the idea of seeking the Democratic nomination for this open seat, though he sounded unlikely to go for it.

TX-15, TX-20: Mauro Garza, who was the 2020 Republican nominee against Democratic Rep. Joaquin Castro in the safely blue 20th District, announced Monday that he was switching his efforts from the 20th to the new 15th District. Garza raised $120,000 during the last quarter and self-funded another $180,000, and he ended September with $365,000 on-hand.

Democratic incumbent Vicente Gonzalez has yet to announce if he’ll seek re-election in the new 15th District, which backed Trump 51-48 under the new GOP gerrymander, or make good on his interest in switching to the safer 34th District, but Garza has a tough primary to focus on before he can worry about that. Monica De La Cruz-Hernandez, who lost an unexpectedly tight 2020 race to Gonzalez, is running again with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s support; De La Cruz-Hernandez raised $539,000 during the most recent quarter and had $422,000 in the bank.

TX-37: Democratic state Rep. Gina Hinojosa said last Tuesday right after the new GOP gerrymander passed that she was making “no major decisions for the next 2 weeks” about a bid for Congress. Hinojosa previously didn’t rule out running for the new and safely blue 37th District in the Austin area, but that was before longtime Rep. Lloyd Doggett announced that he would campaign here.


Special Elections: There’s one special election in New Hampshire on tap for Tuesday:

NH-HD-Cheshire 9: This Democratic district in southern New Hampshire became vacant when former state Rep. Douglas Ley died in June. Business consultant Andrew Maneval is the Democratic candidate facing Republican Rita Mattson, a retired mechanic. Maneval has the backing of several prominent Democrats in the Granite State, including Reps. Chris Pappas and Annie Kuster and Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan.

This is a Democratic-leaning district that backed Joe Biden 57-41 and Hillary Clinton 53-41. Republicans control this chamber 207-188 with this seat and four others vacant.


Albuquerque, NM Mayor: Research & Polling Inc., working on behalf of the Albuquerque Journal, finds Democratic incumbent Tim Keller taking 53% in next week’s nonpartisan primary, which is just above the majority he needs to win outright. Bernalillo County Sheriff Manny Gonzales, who is a conservative Democrat, outpaces Republican Eddy Aragon 20-13 for second place.

The only other poll we’ve seen here was a late September survey from the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling on behalf of the local site The Paper, and it had Keller beating Gonzales 47-21.

Atlanta, GA Mayor: The Democratic pollster 20/20 Insight finds City Council President Felicia Moore leading with 30% in next week’s nonpartisan primary, while City Councilman Andre Dickens unexpectedly holds a 21-18 edge over former Mayor Kasim Reed for the second spot in the all-but-assured runoff. The firm tells us that while 20/20’s Chris Huttman works for Dickens, this survey was done on behalf of a candidate for a different office and not for Dickens; the poll was in the field Oct. 17-22 and sampled 354 likely voters.

Back in mid-August, 20/20 Insight showed Moore at 21% while Reed and Dickens deadlocked 18-18. Several polls taken since then found Moore and Reed well ahead of the rest of the field, including Dickens, but we haven’t seen much data over the last month. Early October numbers from SurveyUSA had Reed and Moore at 18% and 8%, respectively, while Dickens and three other contenders tied for third with 5% each. The University of Georgia also released a survey last week that was in the field 15 days, which is one day longer than the maximum period we generally allow for inclusion in the Digest.

Minneapolis, MN Mayor: All of Mpls, a group backing Mayor Jacob Frey, has publicized an ALG Research survey that shows the incumbent winning next week’s nonpartisan instant-runoff election. This poll, which is the very first we’ve seen of this contest, has Frey outpacing activist Sheila Nezhad 44-25, while 10% goes to a third Democrat, former state Rep. Kate Knuth.

The firm goes on to simulate the instant-runoff process and has Frey ultimately beating Nezhad 47-27. Another 13% are undecided while the remaining 12% were “exhausted,” meaning respondents did not rank either Frey or Nezhad or said they were still making up their minds.

Seattle, WA Mayor: City Council President Lorena González launched a commercial on Friday featuring a sexual assault survivor identified as Caitlin F., who accuses former City Council President Bruce Harrell of having defended ex-Mayor Ed Murray from sexual abuse allegations in 2017.

Caitlin (who was not one of Murray’s accusers) continues, “As a lawyer, Bruce Harrell told a local nonprofit to discredit the reputation of sexual harassment victims instead of holding the perpetrator accountable. Bruce Harrell has repeatedly sided with abusers.” González and Harrell are facing off in next week’s nonpartisan general election.

Harrell quickly responded to the ad by organizing a press conference featuring local African American leaders, most of whom had previously endorsed him, defending the candidate and accusing González of deploying racist stereotypes about her opponent, who is Black. One of the speakers was Lincoln Beauregard, an attorney who represented one of Murray’s accusers in 2017, who said that Harrell hadn’t acted inappropriately when he declined to call for Murray’s resignation. (Murray, who ended up quitting later that year, was sued by alleged victims but never charged with any crimes.)

Harrell’s defenders also included Elma Horton, who served on the board of the nonprofit mentioned in the ad. Regarding the spot’s claim regarding her nonprofit, which comes from a late August column in the South Seattle Emerald, Horton said, “It’s just not right. It’s just not true. And it’s disgraceful.”

González’s campaign responded by defending the ad in a press release on Saturday. “​​Bruce Harrell has a troubling history of discrediting survivors of abuse and harassment,” read the statement. “As Council President, he used his position to defend Ed Murray, even after multiple, credible accusations of child rape. His response to this ad is another example of him denying the facts and discrediting a victim.”

Syracuse, NY Mayor: Independent Mayor Ben Walsh faces a challenge next month from Democratic nominee Khalid Bey, a longtime member of the Syracuse Common Council, in a city that Joe Biden carried 77-21, but the incumbent enjoys a huge financial advantage. Walsh outraised Bey $428,000 to $103,000 from the start of 2021 to Oct. 18, and he went into the final days with a $258,000 to $24,000 cash-on-hand lead. A third candidate, Republican nominee Janet Burman, has brought in only $12,000 during the year.

Four years ago, Walsh won this office by beating Democrat Juanita Perez Williams, who would go on to unsuccessfully compete in the primary for the 24th Congressional District the next year, by a wide 54-38 margin; the GOP nominee that year took just 3% of the vote. Bey, who would make history as Syracuse’s first Black mayor, is arguing that Walsh and the local police department are doing a poor job protecting the city and that he would bring needed change.


San Francisco, CA District Attorney: Chesa Boudin’s 2019 win represented a big victory for the criminal justice reform movement, but the San Francisco district attorney will almost certainly need to defend his post in a recall campaign in June of next year.

On Friday, recall organizers handed in 83,000 petitions, which were about 32,000 more than the required amount; the city has a total of 30 days to verify the signatures, but the San Francisco Chronicle‘ Trisha Thadani says it’s “very likely” the recall, which would take place on the same day as the statewide primary, will go forward. If a majority votes to oust Boudin, San Francisco Mayor London Breed would appoint his successor; no matter what, the next election for a four-year term will take place in 2023.

Boudin was elected in 2019 by promising to pursue policies such as ending cash bail and measures to address racial bias and to hold the police accountable in misconduct cases. Thadani writes that his supporters have pointed to still-low violent crime rates to argue his approach is working, while his foes are using higher property crime rates to insist change is needed. Recall organizers have also highlighted how about one-third of the city’s prosecutors have left since Boudin was inaugurated to attack his managerial skills.

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