Radical Los Angeles Prosecutor Narrowly Dodges Recall

Attorneys allege outdated signature standards to blame for the failure of a petition to oust George Gascón

George Gascón (D.) / Getty Images
August 15, 2022

The campaign to recall radical Los Angeles district attorney George Gascón (D.) did not gather enough signatures to trigger an election, the county’s registrar announced Monday.

The Recall DA George Gascón campaign presented just 520,050 valid signatures for the recall petition, 46,807 short of the required amount. The registrar said 195,783 invalid signatures came from unregistered voters, repeat signees, registered voters who provided different addresses than those on file, and signatures that didn’t match previous ones.

The recall campaign said last week that officials were employing outdated verification methods in its count, rejecting a "shockingly large" 22 percent of signatures during an initial random sampling.

The announcement caps a year-and-a-half-long campaign to end Gascón’s tenure as top prosecutor. The left-wing billionaire George Soros supported Gascón as part of his push to install progressive prosecutors nationwide. Weeks after Gascón took office, a group of his deputy district attorneys sued him for implementing a host of "radical" and "unlawful" policies, which included ending California’s "three-strikes" law for all felonies. Soros’s Justice and Public Safety PAC had donated $4.7 million to Gascón’s campaign.

The United States has seen a sharp crime increase in the past two years, with Los Angeles’s murder rate reaching a 15-year high in 2021.

Gascón called the recall petition an "attempted political power grab" on Monday and said he remains "strongly committed" to his role.

Organizers of the recall effort said they will go through an official review process in the next three weeks with the county and investigate the verification process that rejected more than 195,000 signatures "to ensure no voter was disenfranchised." Having noted that half a million residents voted against the prosecutor, the organizers called the effort "a wholesale rejection of Gascón’s dangerous policies."

Update 8/16/2022 at 9:55 a.m.: This piece has been updated with additional comments.