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A group of young, politically active San Franciscans are rallying behind embattled District Attorney Chesa Boudin as he faces a tough recall election on Tuesday centered on his handling of rising crime across the city.
In an exclusive interview with Fox News Digital, Joy Zhan, co-president of the San Francisco Young Democrats, emphasized the support her organization was providing the progressive DA, including standing with the criminal justice reforms implemented during his term, and called on voters to reject the recall effort that she said was being bankrolled by Republicans.
“The San Francisco Young Democrats were very happy to endorse ‘No’ on Proposition H and support District Attorney Boudin,” Zhan said, before going on to celebrate Boudin’s work as a “criminal justice reform advocate.”
She praised the work she said Boudin had done in breaking the “school to prison pipeline system” affecting minority and low-income youths, and argued that his willingness to fight for young people facing “discrimination” in the criminal justice system was needed.
Chesa Boudin speaks to reporters before his swearing-in ceremony in San Francisco on Jan. 8, 2020. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)
“We are very fortunate to have District Attorney Boudin actually stop trying youths as adults,” she said. “We need someone who is willing to go fight for young people, for our Black and Brown youth, for our low-income youth, so we can do something about this problem.”
Boudin has faced an onslaught of criticism over his office’s handling of crime in San Francisco as critics have pointed to the increased murder rate, violent crime, shoplifting, burglaries, and an open-air drug trade as reasons to support his removal from office.
Zhan argued that issues like crime were happening long before Boudin was in office, and that blame shouldn’t be placed squarely on his shoulders.
“These are long-lasting problems, and we shouldn’t blame one local elected official for something that has been happening for decades,” she said, before blaming the coronavirus pandemic for “amplifying” the focus on crime.
She added that the pandemic “brought to light a lot of the problems that have been persisting,” and that people were looking for a “scapegoat” in Boudin.
Zhan went on to say she was “worried” about what would happen if Boudin was recalled, arguing it would allow Republicans to enact policies she claimed didn’t align with the values of San Franciscans.
It’s unclear exactly who would replace Boudin if he was recalled, however, it’s unlikely it would be a conservative-leaning DA considering Democratic San Francisco Mayor London Breed would be responsible for selecting the replacement.
Homeless people gather on Willow Street in the Tenderloin on May 6, 2020, in San Francisco. (Gabrielle Lurie/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images)
Former San Francisco Republican mayoral candidate Richie Greenberg, who serves as the spokesman for the group Recall Chesa Boudin, pushed back on the notion that Republicans were driving the efforts to recall Boudin.
Speaking with Fox News Digital, Greenberg argued that the number of registered Republicans in San Francisco didn’t come close to adding up to the number of people who signed on to support the recall effort, and that any suggestions otherwise amounted to “hogwash.”
He stated that the “vast majority” of people collecting signatures for the recall, as well as signing on to support it, self-identified as Democrats and liberals, before describing the talking points blaming the recall campaign on Republicans as “a completely desperate attempt” by Boudin’s campaign to make the recall seem like a “turnoff” for the city’s traditionally Democratic voters.
Zhan, however, argued that the money going into the recall effort pointed back to Republicans and that it was influencing the votes of San Franciscans.
She ended with an impassioned plea for voters to oppose the recall and keep Boudin as the city’s district attorney, claiming the recall was “only offering blame and no solutions.”
“This election is honestly about fighting for the soul of San Francisco,” she said. “It’s not about public safety, but about politics and about falsely blaming one elected official for long-standing problems.”
Richie Greenberg, spokesman for Recall Chesa Boudin Committee (Fox Digital)
The recall election will be held Tuesday, June 7, and will coincide with California’s primary elections.
Brandon Gillespie is an associate editor at Fox News. Follow him on Twitter at @brandon_cg.