Chesa Boudin looks on during an election-night event as voters chose to recall him from his position as San Francisco District Attorney, June 7, 2022. (Photo/JTA-Justin Sullivan-Getty Images)
Chesa Boudin looks on during an election-night event as voters chose to recall him from his position as San Francisco District Attorney, June 7, 2022. (Photo/JTA-Justin Sullivan-Getty Images)

Ousted San Francisco DA Chesa Boudin will not run this year, citing family needs

Citing the needs of his family, Chesa Boudin — the controversial former district attorney of San Francisco — announced Thursday he would not be running in November’s special election to fill the top prosecutor job.

Boudin was ousted in a June recall election after serving 2½ years. In interviews soon after the race, he prompted citywide speculation after he did not rule out running again.

On Thursday he put those suspicions to bed, at least for the time being.

“Over the past weeks I’ve spoken to family, friends, supporters and everyday San Franciscans about how we can best continue to make our criminal justice system fairer and more effective,” Boudin wrote in a tweet thread announcing his decision. “I have devoted my public life to this effort because it makes our communities stronger & safer.

“I’ve also taken stock of the burden that more than three years of nearly non-stop campaigning placed on my family,” he wrote. “I’m committed to criminal justice reform; I’m also committed to my family.”

Boudin, who is Jewish, in 2019 married the medical research scientist Valerie Block and has a young son “on the verge of taking his first step,” he added. Boudin’s mother, Kathy Boudin, died of cancer in May, and his father, David Gilbert, 77, was released from prison late last year and is getting acclimated to life as a free man after serving more than 40 years for participating in an armed robbery as an act of radical left-wing protest.

“I am choosing to put my family first: I will not be running for office in 2022,” he wrote.

The former public defender, who promised to tackle racial inequity in San Francisco’s criminal justice system and had never prosecuted a case before his election, became a lightning rod in city politics, instituting bold progressive policies during his shortened term. Criminal justice reformers celebrated his initiatives to eliminate gang enhancements, end cash bail and form a new Innocence Commission to evaluate past convictions. Opponents often excoriated Boudin in local and national media as the face of progressive criminal justice reform run amok.

RELATED: Chesa Boudin recall fight had prominent Jewish backers on both sides

Boudin, 41, could still join the race for district attorney in November 2023, when the position comes open in a regularly scheduled election. In a July 12 statement to J., roughly three weeks before Thursday’s announcement, Boudin said he was leaving his options open. He did not address 2023 in his statements this week.

“All options are still on the table for next steps,” he told J.

Boudin’s decision leaves the door open for Brooke Jenkins, chosen by Mayor London Breed to fill the role as interim district attorney, to continue serving for at least another year.

Boudin has publicly criticized Jenkins, saying in Thursday’s tweet thread he was “gravely concerned” by what he had seen from her office and had gotten “no assurances” on whether she would be rolling back some of his policy programs. Jenkins has already filed papers to run, according to the SF Standard, as has the civil rights attorney Joe Alioto Veronese.

Gabe Stutman
Gabe Stutman

Gabe Stutman is the news editor of J. Follow him on Twitter @jnewsgabe.