LA District Attorney Gascón Wins With Less Than a Quarter of the Vote

LA District Attorney Gascón Wins With Less Than a Quarter of the Vote

Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón speaks at a press conference in Los Angeles on Dec. 8, 2021. (Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images)

Jill McLaughlin

Jill McLaughlin

3/5/2024

Updated: 3/6/2024

Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón walked away with only 21.4 percent of votes cast in the county’s March 5 primary election, according to the county’s unofficial final results.
The incumbent will move on to face second-place candidate Nathan Hochman, a former U.S. assistant attorney general who captured 17.7 percent of voters, in the general election Nov. 5 for the job of running the nation’s largest local prosecutorial office.
Mr. Hochman said Tuesday’s results showed public sentiment was on his side.
“Tonight, three-quarters of Angelenos rejected George Gascón and said enough is enough of playing politics with our communities’ safety,” Mr. Hochman said Tuesday night in a statement posted on X, formerly Twitter. “The Golden Age of Criminals is coming to an end.”
Mr. Hochman said he looks forward to unifying all voters who want to restore safety in the county.
“I look forward to restoring trust with prosecutors, a partnership with law enforcement, and credibility with victims and the public,” he added.
In third was Jonathan Hatami, a prosecutor in Mr. Gascón’s office who works in the child abuse section. Mr. Hatami received 13.4 percent of the vote and was the only other candidate to snag double digits, according to the county’s unofficial results.
“Remember, for everything we went through the last [three] and a half years, we are still standing,” Mr. Hatami posted on X Wednesday morning. “I’m headed to work this morning. There are still children to fight for.”
Mr. Gascón spent Tuesday evening in Grand Park, in downtown Los Angeles. He told reporters he felt good about his chances and planned to watch the results with his family at home, according to the Los Angeles Times.
“This has been an arduous primary, we’ve had a lot of community support but it’s obviously been very heavily contested,” he said.
Mr. Gascón’s campaign did not immediately return a request for comment from California Insider and he did not issue comments on his campaign’s social media accounts about the results.
The controversial district attorney faced 11 challengers in Tuesday’s contest. Five of the candidates work for him-- Maria Ramirez, the head deputy district attorney; John McKinney, a supervising district attorney; Mr. Hatami; Eric Siddall, a violent crimes prosecutor; and Lloyd “Bobcat” Masson, a cold case prosecutor.
Two Los Angeles Superior Court Judges—Debra Archuleta and Craig Mitchell—were also on the ballot and allowed to run after taking an unpaid leave of absence.
The other candidates were Jeff Chemerinksy, an assistant U.S. attorney; and Dan Kapelovitz, a private practice criminal defense attorney.
Mr. Hochman polled third behind Mr. Hatami and Mr. Gascón leading up to Tuesday’s election.
In his campaign, he promised to “get politics out of the D.A.’s Office and restore public safety.”
Mr. Gascón defended his progressive policies, saying crime was decreasing and his reforms were “good for public safety.”
The district attorney’s attempts to refocus his record during the campaign failed to quell community disapproval and internal criticism. A survey published in January of Los Angeles residents found that more than half of them believe their city is “on the wrong track” when it comes to crime and safety.
A majority of those surveyed also viewed Mr. Gascón negatively. Seventy percent of survey participants also identified smash-and-grab thefts, property crimes, and hate crimes as highly serious problems in the city.
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Jill McLaughlin

Jill McLaughlin

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Jill McLaughlin is an award-winning journalist covering politics, environment, and statewide issues. She has been a reporter and editor for newspapers in Oregon, Nevada, and New Mexico. Jill was born in Yosemite National Park and enjoys the majestic outdoors, traveling, golfing, and hiking.

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