While voters ousted San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin, progressive prosecutors were leading or winning in nearby Alameda and Contra Costa counties, reports Courthouse News Service. While national media were quick to question whether Boudin’s removal reflected a swing back from criminal justice reform, local researchers cited progressive candidates’ success elsewhere to demonstrate that California voters still want to see reform and accountability in state and local agencies. In Alameda County, nationally recognized civil rights attorney Pamela Price — who ran against incumbent Nancy O’Malley in 2018 — got 40 percent of the vote among four candidates. Terry Wiley, the incumbent’s chief assistant DA, earned 29.5 percent.
Price, a former criminal defense attorney, framed her campaign against the DA’s traditional “tough on crime” policies. Endorsed by Oakland Rising and activists like Angela Davis and Susan Burton, she has campaigned since 2018 to fight racial disparity in prosecutions, end mass incarceration of people of color, and stop prosecuting children as adults. Opponent Wiley has support from his experience as Chief Deputy District Attorney. His campaign focused on measures like clearing wrongful convictions and old, non-violent drug offenses, while increasing trust between police, prosecutors and judges. If early results hold, Price and Wiley will face off in the November general election. In Contra Costa County, voters reelected the state’s only Black elected DA, Diana Becton, who ran on continuing more progressive prosecutor policies. Her challenger, prosecutor Mary Knox, ran on traditional pro-punishment messaging that claimed Becton was neither prosecuting enough cases nor convicting enough people to keep the public safe. Unofficial results have Becton at 56 percent of votes, with Knox trailing at 44 percent.