The filing period began Tuesday for county, state and federal offices in Los Angeles County for the March primary election, including races for district attorney and an open seat on the Board of Supervisors.
Former San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon has returned to Los Angeles County to challenge District Attorney Jackie Lacey, who is seeking a third term.
“I want to bring reform to my hometown,” Gascon said last month in announcing his candidacy.
Gascon also pledged to bring “respect and dignity” to the office so everyone in the criminal justice system is treated the same “regardless of the color of your skin, regardless of what your past has been.”
Lacey said she is “proud of our office’s record of fighting for reform while keeping our community safe” including implementing “a groundbreaking focus on mental health and treatment rather than incarceration.”
Gascon was 13 when his family settled in Cudahy in southeastern Los Angeles in 1967 after fleeing Cuba. He joined the U.S. Army when he was 18 years old.
After receiving a degree from Cal State Long Beach, he joined the Los Angeles Police Department, rising to the rank of assistant chief.
Gascon left the LAPD in 2006 to become chief of the Mesa (Arizona) Police Department. He was appointed by then-Mayor Gavin Newsom as San Francisco’s chief of police in 2009.
Newsom appointed Gascon, who has a law degree from Orange County-based Western State University College of Law, as district attorney in 2011, succeeding Kamala Harris, who had been elected as state attorney general.
Gascon announced late last year he would not to seek a third term as San Francisco’s district attorney. He resigned effective Oct. 18, less than three weeks before the election to choose his successor.
Lacey is a graduate of UC Irvine and the USC Gould School of Law. She began her legal career as an associate in a small civil law firm, then became a trial deputy in the Santa Monica City Attorney’s Office. She joined the District Attorney’s Office in 1986.
Rachel Rossi, a former public defender with both the Los Angeles County Public Defender’s Office and the Federal Public Defender’s Office for the Central District of California, declared her candidacy Tuesday.
With Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas barred from running for re-election for the Second District seat he has held since 2008 because of term limits, Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson, former Los Angeles City Councilwoman Jan Perry, state Sen. Holly Mitchell, D-Los Angeles, civil rights activist Earl Ofari Hutchinson and community advocate Sharis Rhodes have declared their candidacies.
Ridley-Thomas is running for Wesson’s City Council seat since he is barred from running for re-election as supervisor because of term limits. The district runs from the Wilshire Center and the Miracle Mile south to Carson, west to Mar Vista and east to Lynwood.
Supervisors Janice Hahn and Kathryn Barger are not expected to face serious opposition in their bids for second terms to represent the Fourth and Fifth districts.
If no candidates in the nonpartisan district attorney and Board of Supervisors races receive a majority vote in the primary, the top two finishers will meet in a runoff in November.
The March 3 ballot will also include primaries for president, all of California’s 53 congressional seats, 20 of the 40 state Senate seats and all 80 seats in the Assembly.
There is no incumbent in the 25th Congressional District, which was left vacant by the Nov. 1 resignation of Rep. Katie Hill, D-Santa Clarita, amid allegations of a relationship with a staff member and the online release of explicit photos.
Assemblywoman Christy Smith, D-Santa Clarita, and former Rep. Steve Knight, R-Palmdale, whom Hill defeated last November, are among those who have announced their candidacies.
The filing period will close Dec. 6, but will be extended to Dec. 11 for offices where no incumbent files, except for those where the incumbent cannot seek re-election because of term limits.
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