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Sonoma County District Attorney on Track to Beat Recall

Sonoma County District Attorney Jill Ravitch appeared to be on track to survive a recall election Tuesday.

If results hold, Ravitch will finish out her term in 2022 and does not plan to run for reelection.

The recall campaign was launched and funded by one man — Sonoma County developer Bill Gallaher. There were no official candidates on the ballot to replace Ravitch if she had been recalled, though two people campaigned in recent weeks as write-in candidates.

Critics claimed that the recall was an attempt to oust the prosecutor because of a personal vendetta: Gallaher began the recall effort last October, about a month after settling with county prosecutors over the abandonment of elderly residents at two Santa Rosa care facilities during the 2017 Tubbs fire. Ravitch worked on the case and Gallaher owns the facilities that were under investigation.

Sonoma State Professor David McCuan said he expected the recall to be unsuccessful. He said this recall attempt differed wildly from TUESDAY’S gubernatorial recall and other attempts to oust local prosecutors from office — in part because it was launched after the district attorney had said she wouldn’t run for reelection.

“What’s happening in Sonoma County is a little bit different because this particular recall qualified for the ballot using professional signature gatherers, and in a very high profile effort by one individual to go after the District Attorney,” he said.

McCuan also added that this election was unique because of the amount of money that was poured into the recall campaign. Gallaher alone spent over $1.5 million.

This recall election also cost taxpayers between $606,000 and $909,000 according to the Sonoma County Registrar of Voters.

Copyright 2021 KQED