1 of 5 | Recalled by voters, San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boduin speaks to supporters Tuesday night after the polls closed in San Francisco. Boudin eliminated cash bail and worked to reduce the number of people sent to what he views as an overcrowded prison system -- an issue at the center of the GOP-led recall effort. Photo by Terry Schmitt/UPI | License Photo
June 8 (UPI) -- Voters in progressive San Francisco ousted Democratic District Attorney Chesa Boudin in a recall vote Tuesday, one of several issues on the ballot during elections in seven states.
The effort to recall Boudin, a champion of justice reform, was fueled by Republicans who say his policies have made the city more dangerous and led to a spike in crime.
Voters supported Boudin's removal, with 60.5% in favor of the recall, NBC News and SFGATE reported.
Speaking to supporters as the results were coming in, Boudin blamed his recall on wealthy conservatives who took advantage of a frustrated and angry public.
"They exploited an environment in which people are appropriately upset, and they created an electoral dynamic where we were literally shadowboxing," he said.
"Voters were not asked to choose between criminal justice reform or something else. They were given an opportunity to voice their frustrations and they took that opportunity."
San Francisco Mayor London Breed will appoint a successor to serve out the remainder of Boudin's term, which runs until next year. The next district attorney will take office in early 2024.
Some analysts had said the recall vote was one of two contests in the state that could serve as a bellwether for conservatives and progressives nationwide come November, with the other being the crowded race to replace Eric Garcetti as mayor of Los Angeles.
In the mayoral race, billionaire Republican-turned-Democrat Rick Caruso and Democratic U.S. Rep. Karen Bass advanced to a runoff in November as neither won a majority of the vote on Tuesday.
According to state data, Caruso, who spent more than $34 million on his campaign, received 41% of the vote to 38% for Bass, who in 2020 was a short-list candidate to be Joe Biden's vice presidential running mate.
Garcetti is leaving the mayor's office to become Biden's ambassador to India, pending Senate confirmation.
Other races on the ballot in mostly Democratic California on Tuesday included primaries for incumbent Sen. Alex Padilla and Gov. Gavin Newsom, both of whom won their nominations handily.
According to state figures, Newsom won more than 50% of the vote and will face Republican Brian Dahle in November. Dahle won his party's nomination on Tuesday night.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom survived his own recall challenge last summer, which was fueled by various Republican criticisms -- including his policies on immigration, COVID-19
and homelessness. File Photo by Eric Thayer/UPI
"Across this country, Republicans are attacking our fundamental rights as Americans. Destroying democracy, stripping a woman of the right to choose and standing idly by as gun violence claims far too many lives. [California] is the antidote," Newsom, who survived his own GOP-led recall effort last September, tweeted late Tuesday.
Dahle, a state senator, promised with his victory to unveil a "clear vision" for California in the coming weeks.
"The choice will be clear, and I believe Californians will unite for a better future," he said in a statement.
Similarly, Padilla earned a majority of the vote and the incumbent Democrat will take on Republican attorney Mark Meuser after he was nominated Tuesday. Padilla and Newsom are widely expected to win re-election in the fall.
"This is a huge win," Meuser said in a statement. "We have a hard battle ahead of us but the harder the battle the more glorious the victory."
Tuesday's races featured several Republican challengers taking on incumbent Republicans who were targeted because they weren't supportive enough of Donald Trump when he was president.
Republican Rep. David Valadao of California -- who was one of 10 GOP lawmakers in the House who voted to impeach Trump in 2021 for inciting the attack at the U.S. Capitol -- faced a challenge from Chris Mathys, a staunch Trump supporter who's made Valadao's impeachment vote the core of his campaign.
According to the returns, it appears that Valadao will advance to the general election in November to face Democrat Rudy Salas for California's 22nd District. In the primary race, however, Trump never endorsed Mathys -- and many observers say that's because Trump typically refrains from endorsing candidates who are likely to lose.
Valadao is one of many Republicans who have faced primary challenges from other Republicans loyal to Trump. Some have been successful so far in the 2022 primary season, while others have not.
In Iowa, Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds and Democratic challenger Deidre DeJear were projected to face off in November's general election and GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley appeared poised to win the nomination for one of the state's two U.S. Senate seats. South Dakota governor and resolute Trump backer Kristi Noem won her renomination with more than 75% of the vote.
Other primary races on Tuesday were held in Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey and New Mexico.