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Push to Recall Sonoma County District Attorney Jill Ravitch Appears Headed For Failure

SONOMA COUNTY (CBS SF) -- A recall of Sonoma County District Attorney Jill Ravitch appeared headed for a resounding defeat with early returns overwhelmingly showing support for Ravitch to finish her term.

Preliminary numbers on the Sonoma County election results website showed opposition to the recall dominating with over 80% of votes in the "No" column and less than 20% of votes in favor with just over 11% of precincts reporting.

The recall effort was launched by Sonoma County developer Bill Gallaher and his family.

The recall organizers said in the ballot argument against Ravitch that "pressing issues of inequality, injustice and fire safety failures have been ignored or inflamed" and that Ravitch "failed to pursue charges against large corporations that harm and pollute our community to hold them accountable" and "unethically and repeatedly abused her powers to pursue personal vendettas."

Oakmont Senior Living, which Gallaher founded, paid a $500,000 settlement in a lawsuit alleging that the senior care company abandoned elderly residents during the 2017 Tubbs Fire. The residents were evacuated on city buses by family members and police officers.

Sonoma County voters also appeared opposed to efforts to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom. More than 78 percent of the county's voters, as of results received late Tuesday, had voted against the recall.

The only other item on Tuesday's ballot for any voters in Sonoma County beyond the recall efforts against Newsom and the district attorney was Rohnert Park's Measure D, which proposed to prohibit the sale or use of "safe and sane" fireworks in the city. The measure had nearly 58 percent of approval, with only a simple majority needed, as of the early results Tuesday night.

Nobody filed to be listed on the ballot as a replacement candidate in the recall election, although two candidates qualified as write-ins.

The effort to recall Ravitch formally began on Oct. 22, 2020, when recall proponents filed a notice of intention with the registrar's office. They gathered more than the needed 30,056 valid signatures by April 19.

Due to the time constraints in the election law, officials said, it was not possible to reduce costs by consolidating the Ravitch recall with the recall election of Gov. Gavin Newsom that was held the same day.

Recall supporters have criticized Ravitch, who has been district attorney for 10 years, for her record on social justice issues, and maintain she has done too little in addressing the role of PG&E on behalf of victims of wildfires in the county.

Opponents of the recall say it is an effort by wealthy interests, largely funded by an individual, to undermine the independence of the office. The Sonoma County Democratic Party in March issued a statement opposing the petition.

Ravitch has said she would not run for re-election in 2022.

© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Bay City News Service contributed to this report.

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