Decision 2020

LA County District Attorney Jackie Lacey Concedes Defeat to Challenger George Gascón

Incumbent Jackie Lacey led the March primary by a wide margin over former LAPD officer George Gascón. A lot changed since then.

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What to Know

  • Jackie Lacey was elected in 2012 as the first woman and first Black prosecutor to hold the post.
  • She had the support of many unions, including those representing the police, sheriff's deputies, firefighters and deputy district attorneys.
  • George Gascón was a LA police officer for 28 years and a police chief in Arizona, and San Francisco before serving as DA in San Francisco.

Jackie Lacey conceded defeat at an emotional news conference Friday to challenger George Gascón in the race to become Los County's top prosecutor.

Former San Francisco District Attorney Gascón maintained his significant lead Friday in his effort to unseat Lacey. The incumbent said Friday that the lead is too great to overcome and vowed to move forward.

"I will work with my successor to ensure that there is an orderly transfer of leadership in my office," Lacey said at a Friday news conference.

According to updated results from Tuesday's election, Gascón had 54% of the vote, to Lacey's 46% early Friday morning. In terms of pure numbers, Gascón had a lead of 1.6 million votes to Lacey's 1.4 million.

The county will also continue to accept vote-by-mail ballots that were postmarked by Tuesday and received through Nov. 20.

Gascón positioned himself as a reformer in the race against Lacey. As incumbent, Lacey was plagued by protests from progressives who felt she was not aggressive enough in prosecuting police and sheriff's deputies involved in civilian deaths.

That opposition continued Wednesday, when dozens of people attended a "Jackie Lacey Will Go" celebration organized by Black Lives Matter in front of the Hall of Justice in downtown Los Angeles, where anti-Lacey protests have been held weekly. Not phased by the continuing vote-count, attendees proclaimed Gascon the winner.

The rally was met with a large police and sheriff's department presence, which blocked northbound traffic on Broadway and eastbound traffic on Temple Street.

“It may be said that one day the results of this election is a result of our season of discontent and a demand to see a tsunami of change,” Lacey said Friday.

Lacey finished first in the three-candidate field in the March 3 primary with 48.7% of the vote to 28.2% for Gascón. A runoff was needed because no candidate received a majority.

Black Lives Matter protestors continue to gather outside LA City Hall every week to call for the resignation of District Attorney Jackie Lacey. Kim Tobin reports from Wednesday's protests for the NBC4 News at 4 p.m. on Aug. 5, 2020.

The primary came a day after a group of Black Lives Matter protesters showed up at Lacey's home, and Lacey's husband responded by pointing a gun at the group and ordering them off of the couple's property.

Lacey later apologized on behalf of herself and her husband, but stressed that she has been the target of repeated threats while in office, including death threats, and her husband acted out of fear when the commotion began outside their home at 5:30 a.m.

Former San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon is running to replace LA District Attorney Jackie Lacey. He has a long career in law enforcement including 20 years on the LAPD rising to assistant chief and police chief in two other cities. He talks with NBC4’s Conan Nolan about why he wants the job as LA’s top prosecutor.

Many people had voted before the incident.

David Allan Lacey was charged Aug. 3 with three misdemeanor counts of assault with a firearm. He pleaded not guilty to the charges Oct. 2. A pretrial hearing is scheduled in the case for Dec. 11.

That primary preceded the in-custody death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, which sparked nationwide protests and only intensified the opposition to Lacey.

The race drew national attention and big money donors from outside of Los Angeles. Of roughly $14 million in campaign funds reported as of late October, Gascón has a slight edge over Lacey, based on a recent surge in contributions, and much of his support lies with wealthy donors, according to an analysis by the Los Angeles Times.

New York billionaire and progressive donor George Soros has contributed $1.5 million, while Netflix CEO Reed Hastings and his philanthropist wife, Patty Quillin, have written checks totaling more than $2 million in an effort to elect Gascón, according to The Times.

The majority of Lacey's financial support came from law enforcement groups, including checks of $1 million or more from each of the unions representing sheriff's deputies, Los Angeles police officers and state corrections officers.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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