BY ALLISON LEVITSKY
Daily Post Staff Writer
The recall of Judge Aaron Persky passed by a wide margin in Santa Clara County but a majority of voters in Palo Alto, Stanford, Los Altos and Los Altos Hills voted against it, a precinct-by-precinct breakdown of election results shows.
While the recall failed in the northern part of the county, it did well in South Bay cities such as San Jose, Santa Clara, Sunnyvale, Milpitas and Gilroy.
The leaders of the two campaigns offered different reasons yesterday for the split in county voters.
The recall leader, Stanford law professor Michele Dauber, said she thought Persky won support in the North County because of his social connections. Persky, who got his bachelor’s degree at Stanford and law degree from UC-Berkeley, lives in Los Altos Hills and presided at the Palo Alto Courthouse.
“I think that Judge Persky did better in those limited areas where he had alumni, class, professional and personal connections such as Stanford, Palo Alto and Los Altos,” Dauber told the Post in an email. “In the South County, that was not the case and people voted against him based on the fact that he has a track record of terrible judgment.”
Retired judge LaDoris Cordell, a leader in the campaign against the recall, speculated that the recall’s relatively paltry support in the North County had to do with the recall campaign’s leadership.
“I guess I’m not surprised that North County said no, because there are more people who know who Michele Dauber is — people at Stanford, Palo Alto — and trying to put all of what she’s doing into context more than people who live in San Jose,” Cordell told the Post. “The more you know about her, the more you’re apt to vote no.”
Dauber started the movement after Persky gave 19-year-old freshman Brock Turner six months in county jail for digitally penetrating a 23-year-old family friend of Dauber’s who was passed out drunk outside a fraternity party on campus.
Dauber’s movement benefited from national visibility in 2016 when a poignant victim impact statement written by Turner’s victim, known by the pseudonym Emily Doe, was published by BuzzFeed and spread widely on social media.
Cordell pointed out that the recall also raised hundreds of thousands of dollars more than Persky did, disseminating five political mailers across the county, buying ads on social media and even airing commercials on the streaming service Hulu.
“There’s no way we could keep up with that,” Cordell said.
Dauber also won the support of the influential South Bay Labor Council and she “lambasted Persky” at meetings of the progressive political groups Orchard City Indivisible in Campbell and Together We Will in San Jose, Cordell said.
“I went down and talked to them, and they were all very hostile to me,” Cordell said. “They were just all in that camp.”
Stanford voters against the recall
Out of 618 votes cast in precincts 2545 and 2546, where Stanford faculty and other affiliates live in a residential part of campus between Campus Drive and Page Mill Road, more than 70% were against the recall.
Almost 30 of Dauber’s colleagues at Stanford Law School signed a letter in August voicing opposition to the recall.
The only precinct at Stanford where voters favored the recall was Precinct 2544, which encompasses Escondido Village — home to 834 graduate students. There, a whopping two-thirds of the 234 voters who cast a ballot supported the recall.
Of the 131 voters who cast ballots in Precinct 2542, which encompasses most of the Stanford campus, 53.44% were against the recall.
Dauber’s precinct voted ‘no’
Of 380 voters in Dauber’s precinct in Palo Alto’s Barron Park neighborhood, 60.53% voted against the recall. Of 319 voters in Persky’s precinct in Los Altos Hills, 63.32% opposed the recall.
Countywide, the recall won the support of 59.8% of the 184,862 votes that had been counted last night.
Cordell said she was disappointed by the low turnout: only 24.32% of the county’s 846,228 registered voters bothered to cast a ballot in the primary.
With prepaid postage on mail-in ballots, voting is easier now than ever before, she pointed out.
“This is crazy,” Cordell said. “People don’t exercise their right to vote.”