LA prosecutor recall effort fails to make the ballot


LOS ANGELES (NewsNation) — An attempt to recall high-profile progressive Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón has failed, after organizers were unable to collect sufficient, valid petition signatures to place the proposal before voters, election officials said Monday.

In the nation’s most populous county that has seen rising crime rates, Gascón has been faulted for criminal justice reforms that critics said fueled lawlessness, which the top prosecutor disputed. This was the second attempt to qualify a recall election that could remove Gascón, after an initial attempt failed last year.

Recall organizers needed to gather nearly 570,000 valid petition signatures to schedule an election. But county officials found only about 520,000 were valid, well below the threshold, after disqualifying thousands of signatures.

In a statement, the campaign to recall Gascón called the results disappointing and said valid signatures from more than 500,000 residents represented “a wholesale rejection of Gascon’s dangerous polices.”

The recall committee said it would review rejected signatures and the verification process and “seek to ensure no voter was disenfranchised.”

“The citizens of Los Angeles cannot afford another two years of Gascón unleashing havoc on their streets,” the statement said.

The failed attempt comes after San Francisco voters in June recalled another prominent California criminal justice reformer, District Attorney Chesa Boudin.

Gascón, a former San Francisco police chief who then became DA in that city, won office in Los Angeles in November 2020 as part of a wave of progressive prosecutors elected nationwide.

He ran on a criminal justice reform platform after a summer of unrest following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Los Angeles is a heavily Democratic city known for its progressive politics, but Gascón faced criticism from business leaders and prosecutors in his own office for policies that they saw as ineffective to stem rising crime. His moves to sharply restrict when prosecutors can try juveniles as adults or seek life sentences angered victims-rights groups.

Politico reporter Jeremy White joined NewsNation’s “Rush Hour” on Tuesday to discuss why Gascón’s recall failed compared to Chesa Boudin’s successful recall in San Fransisco.

White says that, for starters, Boudin at least made the ballot.

“This one did not even get a chance to get in front of voters,” White said. “L.A. County is bigger than San Fransisco, so you need a lot more ballot signatures.”

White went on to say that had the issue gone before voters in Novermber, there may have been a different outcome.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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