Alameda DA Pamela Price faces recall vote in November

Alameda County’s progressive District Attorney Pamela Price will face a recall election in November, the local board of supervisors decided Tuesday.

The move to consolidate the vote with the general election could offer the embattled prosecutor a greater chance to thwart the push for her ouster. The regularly scheduled November election should see more voters casting ballots as well as a more liberal electorate, and the longer runway will give Price’s defenders more time to mobilize.

Supervisors had already verified that Price would face a recall vote. But they delayed a decision on timing — a question that could determine Price’s political survival.

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Underlining those stakes, Price’s supporters urged a November vote while her opponents demanded a special election over hours of raucous public comment. Registrar of Voters Tim Dupuis backed a November election, noting it would be less complex and costly than a special election that could cost the county $15 million to $20 million.

Price is in an existential fight less than halfway through her first term. She rocked deep-blue Alameda County’s Democratic establishment in 2022 by winning on a pledge to seek shorter sentences, reduce incarceration, and prosecute police officers when she determines they unlawfully use lethal force.

But surging crime in Oakland, the largest city in her district, propelled a recall push that drew financing from major real estate and finance interests. San Francisco’s Chesa Boudin faced a similar turn of events in 2022 when voters ousted him over his own progressive policies. If the recall vote against Price succeeds, Alameda’s board would appoint a successor.

Price has battled back on multiple fronts. Her campaign asserts the county registrar violated election laws by counting the recall campaign’s signatures too slowly and allowing the campaign to employ signature-gatherers who were not county residents. At her campaign’s urging, the Fair Political Practices Commission is investigating if a pro-recall committee violated disclosure requirements.

The escalating campaign is dividing local Democrats. While the Alameda County Democratic Party voted last year to oppose recalling Price, Rep. Eric Swalwell has spent this week publicly lambasting Price on X, calling her “soft on crime” and urging her to “prosecute more.” Price’s campaign hit back on social media, arguing certain crimes Swalwell had pointed to were “a long-standing problem that predates the current DA.”

Swalwell declined through a spokesperson to comment. He at one time worked for Price’s predecessor, former District Attorney Nancy O’Malley, who donated to the recall drive.