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Politics & Policy

Chesa Boudin ally challenges District Attorney Brooke Jenkins

A man stands with arms crossed
Ryan Khojasteh is the first major opponent to challenge San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins in the 2024 election. | Source: Camille Cohen for The Standard

A former San Francisco prosecutor who was fired by District Attorney Brooke Jenkins after she took office in 2022 is running to replace her this November.

Ryan Khojasteh, 30, who currently works part-time at the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office, will be the first major opponent to challenge Jenkins.

A progressive attorney who graduated from UC Law (formerly UC Hastings) in 2018, Khojasteh worked as a volunteer attorney at the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office in 2019 before being hired by the District Attorney’s Office under Chesa Boudin in 2020. He worked as an assistant district attorney at both the juvenile unit and general felony unit.

Boudin was recalled in June 2022, and Jenkins, a leader of the recall campaign, was appointed by Mayor London Breed to replace Boudin. Jenkins fired more than a dozen staffers in July of that year, including Khojasteh.

Khojasteh declined to be interviewed for this story as he is expected to announce his candidacy at City Hall on Friday at noon.

Citing “a better way for safety” in a press advisory, Khojasteh is an advocate of progressive criminal justice policies, in contrast with Jenkins’ more traditional, tough-on-crime approach. He’s supported by Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón, who was San Francisco’s district attorney, former state Sen. Mark Leno and multiple current elected education officials.

Despite his relatively young age, Khojasteh is not new to San Francisco politics.

He ran for Congress against Rep. Nancy Pelosi in 2018, receiving about 5% of votes in the primary. He also served on the city’s Immigrant Rights Commission for almost six years.

According to the Department of Elections, Jenkins is the only candidate who has formally declared her intention to run for district attorney.

A woman in a pink jacket speaks into a microphone at a table with a backdrop displaying "Hope Stability Renewal" logos.
District Attorney Brooke Jenkins speaks during a town hall in San Francisco in August. | Source: Jeremy Chen/The Standard

In a statement, Jenkins’ campaign spokesperson, Elizabeth Power, defended the firing as necessary to “reverse the damage” caused by Boudin. She touted Jenkins' effort to stabilize the office by hiring 40 new prosecutors, which she said is “making San Francisco safer” and has led to an increase in convictions for violent crime.

“The district attorney looks forward to putting her record up against any candidate who wants to revert back to the failed policies,” the statement said, “that clearly were not working for this city.”

Han Li can be reached at han@sfstandard.com