The effort to force a recall election against L.A. District Attorney George Gascón waned in recent weeks as organizers determined the campaign would be unable to gain the 580,000 signatures needed before the Oct. 27 deadline.
Proponents of the Recall George Gascón campaign collected slightly more than 200,000 signatures in six months after residents and family members of crime victims, upset with Gascón’s progressive policies on crime, launched the effort. Gascon’s supporters argue his policies will end mass incarceration and combat racial inequities in the criminal justice system.
Gascón ended the death penalty in Los Angeles County in 2020, saying it was “deeply flawed” and the community is “better off without it.” He also eliminated cash bail for any misdemeanor, non-serious or non-violent felony offense, even though a majority of California voters refuted the move by voting against Proposition 25 during the 2020 election.
Gascón was elected in November 2020 and campaigned on making neighborhoods safer through progressive reforms and police accountability. Before becoming district attorney, he served nearly 40 years with the Los Angeles Police Department and was appointed chief of police in San Francisco.
After a failed attempt at recalling Gascon’s election, organizers said they are taking a 160-day pause to fundraise, gather volunteers and paid signature-gatherers, and focus more media attention on the stories of victims at the center of Gascon’s policies, according to Tim Lineberger, a campaign spokesman.
Lineberger said the group has not filed an updated petition with the Registrar of Voters and will not file the petition until the group has the resources necessary to fund the paid signature gather effort.
Desiree Andrade, a vocal figure in the recall movement whose 20-year-old son Julian was murdered in 2018, said her son’s killers are no longer facing life without parole and the death penalty because of directives implemented by Gascón.
“He did away with special circumstance charges, which changed my son’s case drastically,” Andrade said. “They are now facing 25 years and only have to do 80%, which is 20 years. As soon as I learned this, I knew this was not justice. Not only my son but for so many other victims out there.”
Andrade added that the recall effort is crucial because it is a matter of Angelenos’ public safety.
“Please open your eyes and see how crime has spiked in L.A. County since George Gascón took office in December 2020,” she said. “Do not fall victim in order to understand how important this is.”
If the effort is successful, the Registrar of Voters will have 30 days to verify and certify the signatures collected. Election officials will then receive the certification and order an election within two weeks of receiving the certification. Once the recall election is announced, there is a nomination period where candidates who wish to seek election have a 75-day period to file. Then, all registered voters in L.A. County would receive a ballot to vote yes or no on the recall.
Data compiled by Annenberg Media found 31 out of 88 L.A. municipalities have passed resolutions confirming a vote of no confidence in George Gascón’s policies and directives. A vote of no confidence from elected officials signifies the body no longer supports a political leader.
Jamarah Hayner, director of Gascón’s anti-recall campaign, pushed back against the increasing number of city councils voting against the district attorney, saying that they are “entirely ceremonial.”
“It’s not even really accurate to say that you know how many cities have voted yes,” Hayner said. “It’s like a seven-person city council, a five-person city council. So doing that math, maybe it’s like 115 people.”
Hayner added that she expects the recall campaign to continue trying to recall Gascón but doesn’t expect any results to come to fruition. She noted that the failed recall election of California Gov. Gavin Newsom in September provided a “pretty good bellwether for voters’ appetite on recalls.”
“I think there’s just a general complete lack of appetite with voters statewide and certainly voters in L.A. County,” Hayner said.
Lineberger said the small number is representative of how city councils vote. He noted that a large number of Democratic city council members have voted to pass the no-confidence resolution, saying the recall campaign garners support from both sides of the political aisle.