Mayor may very well be recalled following petition from residents' group

Opponents of Mayor Sheng Thao filed recall petitions on Wednesday. If confirmed, the progressive mayor could face a brand new election lower than two years after taking office.

The group, calling itself Oakland United to Recall Sheng Thao, said it submitted 40,000 signatures to remove Thao from office. The once-rare political maneuver is gaining traction in California, where voters in Alameda County sought to recall District Attorney Pamela Price in November.

The Oakland group would wish 24,644 valid signatures from city voters – or 61% of the entire signatures submitted – to force the recall of Thao, who received 39,000 first-place votes in a razor-thin 2022 election that relied on ranked-choice voting.

Election officials are expected to start counting valid signatures this week.

Alameda County Elections Supervisor Tim Dupuis said in an interview that his office could have 60 days after receiving the petitions from the town clerk to finish validation of signatures.

City Clerk Asha Reed could also order Dupuis to conduct a random sampling of the petitions collected to estimate what number of are more likely to be valid, a process that might invalidate an election entirely, trigger an automatic vote or prompt officials to start a manual count.

If Thao were forced to run again in November, it could should happen before August 9, the deadline for putting proposals on the identical ballot because the upcoming presidential election.

The recall campaign, led by retired Alameda County Judge Brenda Habin-Forte, has pilloried Thao, accusing her of being too soft on crime, poor stewardship of public funds and an ineffective leader.

“As much as so-called 'progressives' show virtue in supporting the working class, it is disappointing to see them not only ignore our voices, but also constantly mock and ridicule us,” Habin-Forte said Wednesday in a press release announcing the signatures. “Now, it's time for a long-marginalized community to finally speak up for itself and speak out,” she added.

She repeatedly hit back at her critics, stressing in a press release on Wednesday that her office supports outside investments, including the redevelopment of the Coliseum in East Oakland and the brand new Ballers baseball team within the west of the town.

Thao also noted that her revival of the town's Operation Ceasefire program, which had declined in the course of the pandemic, contributed to a citywide decline in crime in 2024 in comparison with the identical period last yr.

The recall campaign, meanwhile, has questioned whether Thao's victory within the 2022 election adequately reflects the need of the voters, as she defeated her opponent Loren Taylor by just 0.5% within the election through which ten candidates competed for one in every of each voter's five ranked-choice votes.

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