Liberal prosecutors put on notice as San Francisco DA recalled over soft-on-crime policy

The recall vote was part of balloting in seven states that held primaries Tuesday night.

Updated: June 8, 2022 - 1:07am

While most incumbents won their primaries Tuesday night, San Francisco voters put liberal prosecutors nationwide on notice when they ousted District Attorney Chesa Boudin in a recall focused on his soft-in-crime policies.

The recall was part of balloting in seven states that held primaries Tuesday night, resulting in hundreds of races that will ultimately determine who will compete in November’s general elections for elected offices – from local- and state-level posts to U.S. House and Senate seats.

Boudin lost his post over voter concerns that he was too soft on crime, amid a spike in burglaries, car break-ins and other crimes in the liberal California city since he took office in 2020.

The vote was certain to slow a national campaign by progressives to create judicial reforms that lessen prosecutions and punishments for certain crimes.

As of midnight Eastern time, most incumbents appeared to have won their primaries – including longtime Iowa GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley and South Dakota GOP Gov. Kristi Noem.

However, the closely-watched Los Angeles mayor race that has come down to Rep. Karen Bass and billionaire mall developer Rick Caruso, a Republican-turned independent-turned-Democrat, was too close to call with about 14% of precincts reporting. If neither candidate gets at least 50% of the vote, the top two will face off in November.

Also in California, GOP Rep. Young Kim appeared to be in a very close race to keep her seat in the state’s new 40th Congressional District.

In South Dakota, President Trump-backed Noem easily won renomination, with the Associated Press having called her race with over 75% of the vote in by 8:30 p.m. local time. Noem is considered to be a potential contender in the 2024 presidential election. She defeated former state House Speaker Steve Haugaard.

Sen. John Thune also won his primary. Thune, who has faced criticism from Trump for not supporting efforts to overturn the 2020 election, secured his party renomination against two challengers. He is a member of Senate Republican leadership and is considered in line to eventually replace Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell. 

Rep. Dusty Johnson secured the Republican nomination for South Dakota's at-large congressional district Tuesday, despite a strong challenge from state Rep. Taffy Howard, an Air Force veteran who has supported Trump's claims about fraud in the 2020 election. 

Still, whether Trump-backed candidates won or lost was not the focus of Tuesday’s races, compared to earlier primaries in such states as Georgia and Pennsylvania.

In New Mexico, former TV meteorologist Mark Ronchetti was the projected winner of the state’s GOP gubernatorial primary, according to the Associated Press

He defeated four other candidates including state Rep. Rebecca Dow, and will face incumbent Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham in November.

Ronchetti has pledged to deploy 150 state law enforcement personnel to New Mexico's border with Mexico to combat illegal migration and drug and human trafficking. 

In the Mississippi primaries, GOP Rep. Trent Kelly won his race as did Democrat Rep. Benny Thompson. 

Thompson is the state's lone Democrat congressman and co-chairman of the House's select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. He has been in Congress since winning a special election in 1993. He serves in the state's 2nd Congressional District. 

Kelly defeated challenger Mark Strauss in north Mississippi’s 1st Congressional District. He won a special election in 2015 to Congress after serving as district attorney for several counties in northern Mississippi. Kelly also was endorsed by Trump.

In Montana, incumbent GOP Rep. Matt Rosendale won his primary in the state’s 2nd Congressional District.

And in New Jersey, former state Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean Jr. and incumbent Democratic Rep. Tom Malinowski won their respective primaries and will meet in November for a rematch to represent the state’s 7th Congressional District, which generic polls appear to show is Republican leaning as a result of redistricting.