The San Francisco Democratic County Central Committee voted on Thursday to endorse civil rights lawyer and former SF Police Commission member John Hamasaki over the incumbent DA Brooke Jenkins, continuing the rift in city politics following the aftermath of the Chesa Boudin recall earlier this year.
In June San Francisco voters ousted former DA Chesa Boudin in a landslide recall election over enacting numerous policies that caused the city’s crime rate to skyrocket and allowed many arrested criminals to walk free. The next month, Mayor London Breed chose former assistant DA and Boudin critic Jenkins as the next DA until the special DA election in November. Despite some early questions, Jenkins quickly brought a reversal to many key Boudin policies, angering many progressives in the city who saw several years work of DA policy changes undone in an instant.
With Jenkins entering the special election in August, several other contenders entered the race, including Hamasaki and fellow lawyer Joe Alito Veronese. While Hamasaki seemed like a controversial pick, due in a large part to being a critic of the SFPD and resigning from the SF Police Commission in March over the commission not acting on certain things he wanted done, his civil rights record and record on oversight over the police won over many democrats. This led to Hamasaki getting the first endorsement for DA on Thursday, followed by Veronese getting the second endorsement from the Democratic party. Jenkins received no votes, surprising many at the SFDCCC vote.
I realize this tweet was somewhat incoherent in my excitement. To clarify: the San Francisco Democratic Party just endorsed @HamasakiLaw for SF DA. Not one member of the SF Democratic Party (including congressional and local leaders) voted to endorse @BrookeJenkinsSF for DA. Wow.
— Rachel Marshall (@RachelRMarshall) September 29, 2022
SF Democrats endorse Hamasaki, Veronese over Jenkins
“I am beyond honored to receive all of the San Francisco Democratic Party’s first place votes to be the next District Attorney of San Francisco,” stated Hamasaki after the vote. “I certainly wasn’t the establishment candidate by any means but this endorsement shows that the San Francisco Democratic Party, like much of San Francisco, is tired of politics as usual. Enough of the corruption, the insider deals, the backroom politics, and the dark money backers. We need public safety and accountability in SF, but we need to do it beyond politics.”
The second choice candidate, Veronese, added, “Their complete rejection of the Democratic acting-DA is noteworthy. It shows that her own party, the Democratic Party, neither trusts nor believes her. Not a single Democrat voted to endorse Brooke Jenkins. Not one. She wasn’t even their second choice! Jenkins’ political connections couldn’t overcome her failures as a prosecutor. Her record of inaction, unethical behavior, failed prosecutions and setting murderers free speaks for itself. We need to rescue San Francisco and the Democratic Party has spoken clearly: Brooke Jenkins cannot rescue San Francisco.”
The Jenkins campaign fired back later that day, noting that the DCCC was in favor of keeping Boudin as DA, and not endorsing Jenkins was a matter of revenge for her efforts in ousting Boudin and subsequently taking his job and dropping his policies left and right.
“District Attorney Jenkins is proud to have earned support from leading Democrats like Senator Scott Wiener and the Bay Area Reporter because they believe she is restoring accountability and safety to San Francisco,” said the Jenkins campaign. “Unfortunately, the DCCC has been driven by political ideology. They opposed the Boudin recall and just endorsed a candidate who has called for defunding the DA’s office that he is running for. They don’t represent a focus on public safety that the majority of San Franciscans are asking for.”
Frank Ma, a former law enforcement official who now works as a security advisor for businesses in San Francisco and cities in the Peninsula, added in a Globe interview on Friday, “Lefter Democrats don’t want to admit that Jenkins is working because she is taking away all those Boudin policies. But ask anyone on the street, and they’re happy that the police are once again going after these criminals. They’re happy they’re going to jail. We’re starting to see more people walk around in the city and people are parking their cars without fear that they could be broken into. She still needs more time, but people generally believe she’s doing good. The endorsement might not mean as much as it used to. People still remember Boudin.”
The Special SF DA election is to be held on election day on November 8th.
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