Ravitch recall fails to gain traction at the polls

By Zoë Strickland, Managing Editor, SoCoNews, September 15, 2021

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As initial voting results came in on Sept. 14, one thing was clear — returns indicate that Sonoma County voters do not support the recall of current county district attorney Jill Ravitch.

As of midnight on Sept. 15, 126,669 county votes had been counted, with 79.95% — 101,269 voters — opposing the recall. The recall effort gained support from 20.05%, or 25,400 voters.

The Sonoma County Registrar of Voters office has until Oct. 14 to certify the election results.

Ravitch, who took office in 2011 as Sonoma County’s first female district attorney, is currently serving her second term and does not plan to run for a third term.

The recall effort was considered by many to be the result of a grudge held against Ravitch by wealthy developer Bill Gallaher. Companies controlled by Gallaher, the sole contributor behind the recall campaign, faced large fines after Ravitch investigated the abandonment of disabled senior residents at various senior care facilities in Santa Rosa during the 2017 Tubbs Fire.

A March 2021 resolution adopted by the Sonoma County Democratic Party states that Gallaher filed the recall against Ravitch in October 2020, less than a week after Ravitch had announced she would retire after her second term ends, meaning the recall effort was begun with the knowledge that Ravitch would be retiring from office in less than 18 months.

Less than two months prior to his filing of the recall, Gallaher paid $500,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by local and state prosecutors over the allegations of abandonment of seniors under his corporations’ care during the Tubbs Fire.

According to the Recall Ravitch campaign, initial canvassing for recall supporters resulted in 43,000 signatures on the petition in support of ousting the district attorney that was needed to put the recall on the ballot.

According to its website, the recall campaign sought to recall Ravitch for exacting revenge against political opponents, hiring and promoting political allies and for lack of transparency.

Local and regional officials overwhelmingly opposed the recall, with all five Sonoma County supervisors and the mayors of Santa Rosa, Petaluma, Rohnert Park, Healdsburg, Windsor and Sebastopol among them.

Additional reporting by Brandon McCapes.

This article was produced by SoCoNews. See more news at soconews.org