Boudin's extraordinary life story — his parents, who were members of the radical leftist group the Weather Underground, were both incarcerated when he was just 14 months old for their role in a 1981 armed robbery that left three men dead — led him to a career as a deputy public defender in San Francisco. His father, David Gilbert, remains incarcerated at a maximum security prison in western New York State, where Boudin still visits him.
Boudin's emphasis on diverting people away from the criminal justice system and toward rehabilitation was an inspiration for supporters of criminal justice reform, even as it disturbed members of the law enforcement community who worry he'll give low priority to crimes such as auto break-ins, which plague the city.
Under the city's ranked-choice voting system, the second- and third-place votes from the lower-place finishers — Alameda County Deputy District Attorney Nancy Tung and Deputy Attorney General Leif Dautch — were redistributed to the top two candidates.
With Boudin prevailing, it sends a stunning rebuke to the city's establishment, which endorsed Loftus. Most notably, that includes Mayor London Breed who appointed Loftus interim D.A. just weeks before the election, as well as Gov. Gavin Newsom. and U.S. Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris.
In another nail-biter, and further rebuke to Brown, challenger Dean Preston declared victory Saturday over incumbent Supervisor Vallie Brown, another appointee of Breed's, in the District 5 supervisorial race, as his margin grew to 170 votes.
"Today is a victory for all San Franciscans seeking bolder answers for the challenges our city faces,” said Preston in a press statement. “This was a hard-fought election and I am so grateful for the long hours of volunteer effort and grassroots, community support that brought our campaign across the finish line. But now the campaign is over, and I am ready and eager to begin serving our city as soon as possible."
Although Breed easily won reelection on Tuesday, the defeat of her ally on the Board of Supervisors could further stymie her agenda, as the more centrist mayor has struggled to get a six-vote majority with the left-leaning board.
The race between Loftus, a former prosecutor and police commissioner who most recently worked as legal counsel to San Francisco County Sheriff Vicki Hennessy, and Boudin, a progressive, attracted national attention.
The San Francisco Police Officers Association (POA) on Wednesday sent a sharply worded letter to Supervisor Sandra Lee Fewer, who led chants of "Fuck the POA" at the election night party for Boudin. Supervisors Hillary Ronen and Matt Haney, along with other members of the city's progressive community watched and showed no sign of disapproval at the chants. Boudin was not present at the time.
The POA spent $650,000 on campaign ads attacking Boudin and has a long history of animosity toward the city's liberal leadership.