Oct 11, 2022 - Politics

Meet the candidates: All eyes on SF's district attorney race

John Hamasaki and Brooke Jenkins

From left to right: John Hamasaki, Brooke Jenkins and Joe Alioto Veronese. Photos courtesy of their respective campaigns

It's nearly time for voters to decide if Brooke Jenkins, the mayor-appointed district attorney, will retain her role as San Francisco's top prosecutor.

Why it matters: San Franciscans are divided over crime and policing, and the DA decides whether to file criminal charges against someone accused of a crime, and the severity of those indictments.

The front-runners: Jenkins and her opponent Joe Alioto Veronese are widely considered the more moderate candidates, while John Hamasaki skews progressive.

  • Both Hamasaki and Alioto Veronese are civil rights attorneys who formerly served on the police commission, the body that oversees the San Francisco Police Department.

Between the lines: Violence against the Asian American community has been on the rise since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. In 2021, anti-Asian hate crimes in San Francisco increased by 567% from the previous year.

  • Jenkins, who in July pledged to seek hate crime charges in assault cases against Asian Americans, declined to file such charges in August following an attack on a 70-year-old Asian woman, citing a lack of "proof of motive."
  • Jenkins has, however, created a "vulnerable victims unit" with attorneys specifically focused on supporting members of the AAPI community, saying "the Asian community needs to feel like we are doing our best" to hold offenders accountable, KQED reports.
  • Meanwhile, Hamasaki told Axios he's unsure how he would've handled the case involving the 70-year-old, but he previously stressed to Axios that "coming from the [Asian] community, there's a different way I'm able to speak to the community and relate" to them.
  • Alioto Veronese has criticized Jenkins for not filing more hate crime charges, telling Axios "[Jenkins] sent a message to the folks that were coming into San Francisco to beat up on elderly Asian people that she's going to be soft on them."

By the numbers: Jenkins is leading the fundraising race so far, with $126,564 in donations, followed by Hamasaki with $87,044 and Alioto Veronese with $56,472, per the latest campaign filings.

Key endorsements: Jenkins has the support of SF Mayor London Breed, California state Sen. Scott Weiner and others.

  • Hamasaki: SF Supervisor Dean Preston, the League of Pissed Off Voters and others.
  • Alioto Veronese: Service Employees International Union Local 1021, SF Building and Construction Trades Council and others.

Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios San Francisco.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More San Francisco stories

No stories could be found

San Franciscopostcard

Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios San Francisco.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more