District Attorney candidate Chesa Boudin listens to his campaign manager Kaylah Williams speak at his election party at SoMa Streat Food Park on Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

Chesa Boudin wins DA contest over Suzy Loftus

In D5 Dean Preston declares victory over Supervisor Vallie Brown

Reform candidate Chesa Boudin has won the District Attorney race over Suzy Loftus with Saturday’s vote count showing him ahead by more than 2,400 votes.

Boudin, a former deputy public defender, ran on a platform of reducing mass incarceration, addressing racial disparities in the criminal justice system and holding the police more accountable.

“The people of San Francisco have sent a powerful and clear message: It’s time for radical change to how we envision justice,” Boudin said. “I’m humbled to be a part of this movement that is unwavering in its demand for transformation.”

In winning, Boudin overcame the challenge of fending off Loftus even after Mayor London Breed appointed her interim District Attorney just weeks before the election. The San Francisco Police Officers Association also spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on ads attacking him.

Presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders endorsed Boudin in late October. On Saturday, Sanders celebrated Boudin’s “historic victory.”

“Now is the moment to fundamentally transform our racist and broken criminal justice system by ending mass incarceration, the failed war on drugs and the criminalization of poverty,” Sanders wrote on Twitter.

Boudin, 39, is the son of incarcerated radical activists, and on Friday, as the ballot count continued in San Francisco, he visited his father, David Gilbert, who remains in a New York prison.

The latest results from Tuesday’s election showed progressive challenger Boudin leading with 85,950 votes to Loftus’ 83,511 votes.

While Loftus was initially ahead in the neck-and-neck race, Boudin began to close in on her lead Thursday, reducing it from 2,205 votes to 879 votes. On Friday, the race flipped after Boudin surpassed Loftus by 156 votes.

With Boudin now ahead by 2,439 votes and only 1,200 ballots remaining to count, victory was apparent.

Loftus conceded the race on Twitter. “I didn’t win the race – but we won the support of so many San Franciscans who are demanding that our city work more effectively together to build safety,” Loftus wrote. “Congratulations to Chesa Boudin. I will work to ensure a smooth and immediate transition.”

In the other close contest, tenants rights activist Dean Preston, the progressive challenger in the race for District 5 supervisor, increased his lead to 170 votes over incumbent Supervisor Vallie Brown, who Breed appointed as her successor after she became mayor.

Preston was leading the race on Friday by 35 votes.

The latest tally on Saturday left Preston with a total of 11,655 votes and Brown with 11,485.

“I’m excited to learn of the latest returns,” Preston told the Examiner. He added that he planned to issue a statement later.

Shortly after, he issued a statement declaring victory.

“Today is a victory for all San Franciscans seeking bolder answers for the challenges our city faces,” Preston said. “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.”

Preston’s victory is a significant blow for Breed, who loses an ally on the already left-leaning Board of Supervisors.

This story has been updated.

lwaxmann@sfexaminer.com

jsabatini@sfexaminer.com

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