UNITED STATES NEWS

Progressive Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón advances to runoff

Mar 6, 2024, 6:05 PM | Updated: 6:18 pm

FILE - Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón speaks during a news conference Feb. 22,...

FILE - Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón speaks during a news conference Feb. 22, 2023, in Los Angeles. Eleven candidates are challenging Gascón, a former police chief and two-term San Francisco district attorney, to lead the nation's largest prosecutor's office. The primary for Los Angeles County district attorney is March 5. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, File)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, File)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — One of the country’s most progressive prosecutors, George Gascón, has advanced to a runoff in his reelection bid for Los Angeles County’s district attorney, surviving a primary race that pit him against 11 challengers.

Gascón will compete in November against the second highest vote-getter from Tuesday’s primary in the race to lead an agency that prosecutes cases in the most populous county in the U.S.

Nathan Hochman, a former federal prosecutor and one-time California attorney general candidate who ran as a Republican in 2022, was closely behind Gascón in partial returns.

Hochman has tried to capitalize on voter anger over crime and homelessness, issues that led voters to unseat San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin in a recall election in 2022. In his campaign ads, Hochman, a defense attorney, vowed to change the direction of the district attorney, saying: “It’s time we had a DA who fights for victims, not criminals.”

To win the primary outright in California, Gascón needed to get a 50%-plus-one vote. Anything less triggers a runoff race between the top two candidates in November regardless of party.

Political experts said they had expected Gascón to advance from the nonpartisan primary but are less optimistic about his chances in the fall.

The primary set Gascón against opponents who ranged from line prosecutors in his own office to former federal prosecutors to county judges. They sought to blame Gascón and his progressive policies for widespread perceptions the city is unsafe, highlighting shocking footage of a series of brazen smash-and-grab robberies at luxury stores. The feeling of being unsafe is so pervasive that even the Los Angeles mayor and police chief said in January that they were working to fix the city’s image.

But while property crime increased nearly 3% within the sheriff’s jurisdiction of Los Angeles County from 2022 to 2023, violent crime decreased almost 1.5% in the same period.

Gascón was elected on a criminal justice reform platform in 2020, in the wake of George Floyd’s killing by police. He faced a recall attempt within his first 100 days and a second attempt later, which both failed to get on the ballot.

During his first term, Gascón immediately imposed his campaign agenda: not seeking the death penalty; not prosecuting juveniles as adults; ending cash bail for misdemeanors and nonviolent felonies; and no longer filing enhancements triggering stiffer sentences for certain elements of crimes, repeat offenses or gang membership.

He was forced to roll back some of his biggest reforms early in his tenure, such as initially ordering the elimination of more than 100 enhancements and elevating a hate crime from misdemeanor to a felony. The move infuriated victims’ advocates, and Gascón backpedaled, restoring enhancements in cases involving children, older people and people targeted because of their race, ethnicity, sexual orientation or disability.

His challengers have pledged to reverse many or nearly all of his most progressive policies, such as his early orders to eliminate filing for sentencing enhancements.

United States News

Associated Press

North Carolina University system considers policy change that could cut diversity staff

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The future of diversity, equity and inclusion staff jobs in North Carolina’s public university system could be at stake as a series of votes loom on a key policy’s potential repeal. The Committee on University Governance within the University of North Carolina Board of Governors that oversees 17 schools, was poised […]

15 minutes ago

Associated Press

Sweeping gun legislation awaits final votes as Maine lawmakers near adjournment

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — The Maine Legislature moved in fits and starts toward adjournment on Wednesday, with unfinished business including final votes on a series of gun safety bills that were introduced after the deadliest shooting in state history last fall. The Senate was awaiting an enactment vote on the governor’s gun safety proposals that […]

25 minutes ago

Associated Press

How many ballerinas can dance on tiptoes in one place? A world record 353 at New York’s Plaza Hotel

NEW YORK (AP) — Hundreds of young dancers in white tutus and tightly coiffed hair gathered in New York’s Plaza Hotel on Wednesday to break the world record for dancing on pointe in one place. The spectacle was organized by Youth America Grand Prix, a ballet scholarship program that is celebrating its 25th anniversary with […]

34 minutes ago

Associated Press

Lab chief faces sentencing in Michigan 12 years after fatal US meningitis outbreak

HOWELL, Mich. (AP) — Days after a routine injection to ease back pain, Donna Kruzich and a friend drove across the border to Canada in 2012 to see end-of-summer theater in Stratford, Ontario. The 78-year-old Michigan woman suddenly became ill and returned home. By early October, she was dead. “Most of the time she could […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

Police confirm Missouri officer fired fatal shot that killed man who allegedly shot another man

FERGUSON, Mo. (AP) — A Ferguson, Missouri, police officer fired the fatal shot that killed at man at a gas station in the St. Louis suburb, police said Wednesday. The shooting happened just before 1:30 a.m. Tuesday at a convenience store. Police said 26-year-old Detarius Haynes and 18-year-old Joshua Campbell were in a vehicle that […]

3 hours ago

Associated Press

Senator’s son pleads not guilty to charges from crash that killed North Dakota sheriff’s deputy

WASHBURN, N.D. (AP) — The adult son of U.S. Sen. Kevin Cramer pleaded not guilty Wednesday to homicide and other charges in connection with a Dec. 6 crash that killed a North Dakota sheriff’s deputy. Ian Cramer, 43, waived his preliminary hearing and entered his not guilty plea to felony charges of homicide while fleeing […]

3 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

Desert Institute for Spine Care is the place for weekend warriors to fix their back pain

Spring has sprung and nothing is better than March in Arizona. The temperatures are perfect and with the beautiful weather, Arizona has become a hotbed for hikers, runners, golfers, pickleball players and all types of weekend warriors.

...

COLLINS COMFORT MASTERS

Here are 5 things Arizona residents need to know about their HVAC system

It's warming back up in the Valley, which means it's time to think about your air conditioning system's preparedness for summer.

...

Fiesta Bowl Foundation

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade is excitingly upon us

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe is upon us! The attraction honors Arizona and the history of the game.

Progressive Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón advances to runoff