WASHINGTON – A Republican-affiliated group said Monday it is launching a recall campaign, backed by unknown donors, to criminalize Democrats and their allies for being gentle by targeting progressive prosecutors.

It will initially focus on three prosecutors elected in 2019 in the affluent suburbs of Washington, northern Virginia, amid a national wave of pledges from Democrats to make law enforcement fairer and more humane.

The Virginians for Safe Communities group said the targets of the recall were Buta Biberaj of Loudoun County, Parisa Dehghani-Tafti of Arlington County and Steve Descano of Fairfax County, all of whom are Commonwealth counsel.

The campaign is faced with uncertain prospects, starting with the clarification of signature collections and legal hurdles.

However, organizers identified it as part of a broader national push to capitalize on voter concerns over rising urban crime and a backlash against sentiment against the police.

“There is a time for all things politics, and now is the time to wake up people who are in favor of law enforcement,” said Sean D. Kennedy, a Republican agent and president of Virginians for Safe Communities. He called the Northern Virginia recall effort a “test case for a nationwide launch.”

He said the group raised more than $ 250,000 and received commitments of nearly another $ 500,000. He would not reveal the identity of the donors to the group, which is registered under a section of the Tax Code that allows nonprofit groups to protect their donors from disclosure.

Mr. Kennedy, who has worked on Republican campaigns and committees, is an officer with the Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund, but he said the new group is independent from them. Others involved in the new group include former FBI officer Steven L. Pomerantz and Ian D. Prior, who was appointed to the Justice Department during the Trump administration and previously worked on well-funded Republican political committees.

Mr. Kennedy has used Virginians for Safe Communities as an antidote to a political committee funded by billionaire George Soros, a leading democratic donor. His group, Justice and Public Safety PAC, has spent millions of dollars in recent years to assist candidates in local prosecutorial elections who supported the decriminalization of marijuana, relaxation of bail rules, and other progressive-favored changes.

The spending turned many of the races on their heads, which previously had drawn relatively little money and attention from major national interests.

Mr Soros’s representatives did not respond to a request for comment.

His PAC spent hundreds of thousands of dollars each in 2019 to support the campaigns of Ms. Dehghani-Tafti, Mr. Descano and Ms. Biberaj as they took office and promised a new approach to criminal justice.

Their victories came at a time when politicians from both parties were scrutinizing harsh crime policies, imposing harsh penalties for drug-related crimes, and laying the groundwork for mass incarceration that disproportionately affected black communities. In late 2018, President Donald J. Trump signed the most momentous reduction in criminal law in a generation. The next month, Joseph R. Biden Jr., who was preparing to run against Mr. Trump, apologized for portions of the anti-crime legislation he championed as a senator in the 1990s.

Skepticism about law enforcement and the criminal justice system was further catalyzed by the police murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police in 2020. Many Democrats, including President Biden, have opposed the Defund the Police movement.

But a year and a half after Mr. Floyd’s death, American cities are facing a surge in gun violence and murder that began during the pandemic and has continued into this year.

Republicans have tried to blame the Democrats and their allies, and have tried to regain the cloak of law and order that politicians from both parties embraced in the 1980s and 1990s, but later because of concerns about police and police misconduct the inequalities in the criminal justice system.

The Conservatives “basically sat on the sidelines on this issue,” said Kennedy. “It was dominated by one side, and our side had basically disarmed unilaterally.”

He accused the three Northern Virginia prosecutors of “taking dangerous measures” that “undermine public confidence in our judicial system.” He cited an increase in the murder rate in Fairfax Counties and Arlington Counties.

Ms. Dehghani-Tafti, the chief prosecutor for Arlington County and the City of Falls Church, said in an email that she “does exactly what I have promised my community – what I was chosen to do – and do it well: that To make the system fairer, more responsive and more rehabilitative and at the same time guarantee our safety. “

Some of the more progressive planks on their campaign platform, and those of Ms. Biberaj and Mr Descano – who are ending law enforcement for marijuana possession and not applying for the death penalty – were at least partially codified across the country this year. Virginia Governor Ralph Northam signed law abolishing the death penalty and legalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana.

Ms. Dehghani-Tafti accused Mr. Kennedy’s group of using undisclosed “dark money” and “relying on misinformation” to “overturn a valid election through a non-democratic recall”.

Recalls are rare in Virginia and require the collection of signatures from a group of voters equal to 10 percent of the number who voted for the office in question in the last election, followed by a trial to prove that the officer has acted in a manner that constitutes incompetence, negligence or abuse of office. In the prosecutor’s case, the signature requirement would range from about 5,500 in Arlington to 29,000 in Fairfax.

Kennedy said his group intends to start paying people to collect signatures starting this week, with the goal of hitting the thresholds by Labor Day.

Recent efforts to defeat or dismiss progressive prosecutors have so far not been successful in other jurisdictions, including Philadelphia and Los Angeles, and an upcoming grassroots effort to recall the three Virginia prosecutors has apparently not met with much resonance.