Gascon To Face 11 Challengers In Primary

George Gascon (Wikipedia)

LOS ANGELES (MYNEWSLA) - District Attorney George Gascon will face 11 challengers in the March 5 primary election, including five members of his office and two Los Angeles County Superior Court judges.

The field includes Eric Siddall, a violent crimes prosecutor who has been endorsed by the Association for Deputy District Attorneys, the union representing deputy district attorneys; Maria Ramirez, the head deputy district attorney; supervising district attorney John McKinney; and fellow prosecutors Jonathan Hatami and Lloyd “Bobcat” Masson, according to the final list of qualified candidates released Saturday by the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk.

Nathan Hochman, a former U.S. assistant attorney general who was the Republican candidate for state attorney general in the 2022 general election; Jeff Chemerinsky, an assistant U.S. attorney; and criminal defense attorney Dan Kapelovitz are among the other candidates.

Los Angeles County Superior Court judges Debra Archuleta and Craig J. Mitchell have also qualified for the ballot. Under the California Constitution, judges are eligible to run for office as long as they take a leave of absence without pay, Rob Oftring, the communications director of the Superior Court of Los Angeles County told City News Service.

David S. Milton, who retired as a Superior Court judge March 25, 2014, will also appear on the ballot.

Gascón has been under fire since taking office in December 2020, when he issued a series of directives critics have blasted as being soft on crime. The directives include a rule against seeking the death penalty, a ban on transferring juvenile defendants to adult court and prohibitions on filing sentencing-enhancements in most cases.

“This campaign is not about me, this is a community movement,” Gascón said Nov. 21 as he began his campaign for a second term. “This is about looking at the criminal justice system of the 21st century not with a rearview mirror but looking forward.

“Reform is the collective work of people both in our community and in the legal system — attorneys as well those who are being impacted, victims and accused. We’re fully committed to fighting for our shared values: investing in community health and safety while ending the death penalty, no longer prosecuting children as adults, holding law enforcement and big corporations accountable.”

If as expected, no candidate receives a majority, the top two finishers will meet in a runoff Nov. 5, like all nonpartisan races on the primary ballot.

The race to succeed Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Burbank, in the predominantly Democratic 30th Congressional District consists has drawn 15 candidates — 12 Democrats, two Republicans, and one candidate with no party preference.

The Democrats include former Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer; state Sen. Anthony Portantino, D-La Cañada Flintridge; Assemblywoman Laura Friedman, D-Glendale; Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education member Nick Melvoin; West Hollywood Mayor Sepi Shyne; Dr. Jirair Ratevosian, a former State Department official; and actor Ben Savage, all Democrats.

The district stretches from West Hollywood to Pasadena and Echo Park to the Angeles National Forest.

Schiff has not made an endorsement. He is running for the U.S. Senate seat formerly held by the late Dianne Feinstein after being a member of the House since defeating then-Rep. Jim Rogan, R-Glendale, in 2000.

There are two other congressional races in Los Angeles County with no incumbent running.

Rep. Grace Napolitano, D-Norwalk, has endorsed Sen. Bob Archuleta, D-Pico Rivera, in the race to succeed her in the predominantly Democratic 31st Congressional District in the San Gabriel Valley.

Former Rep. Gil Cisneros, who from 2019-21 represented the then-39th District, which ran from Walnut in the north to Chino Hills in the east, Hacienda Heights in the west and Fullerton in the south, is among the five other Democrats on the ballot.

Sen. Susan Rubio, D-Baldwin Park, Mary Ann Lutz, a member of the Citrus Community College District Board of Trustees, workers’ rights advocate Greg Hafif and health care advocate and businessman Kurt Jose are the other Democrats running.

Two Republicans will be on the ballot — clinical psychologist Pedro Antonio Casas and lawyer/entrepreneur/educator Daniel Jose Bocic Martinez — along with two candidates without a party preference, teacher Erskine Levi and commissioner Marie Manvel.

Rep. Tony Cárdenas, D-Pacoima, has endorsed Assemblywoman Luz Rivas, D-North Hollywood, in the race to succeed him in representing the 29th Congressional District in the Northeast San Fernando Valley.

Community organizer Angélica María Dueñas, a Democrat who lost to Cárdenas, 56.6%-43.4% in 2020 and 58.5%-41.5% in 2022, and Republican Benito “Benny” Bernal, a family and youth advocate, will also appear on the ballot.

The March 5 primary also includes races for three seats on the county Board of Supervisors.

Supervisor Kathryn Barger has drawn four challengers in her bid for a third and final term to represent the Fifth District, including Assemblyman Chris Holden, D-Pasadena, and Burbank Mayor Konstantine Anthony.

Perry Goldberg, who listed “nonprofit leader/entrepreneur” as his occupation, and Marlon Marroquin, who did not list an occupation, are also running.

Former Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva and Rancho Palos Verdes Mayor John M. Cruikshank are running against Fourth District Supervisor Janice Hahn, who is also seeking her third and final term.

Supervisor Holly Mitchell has drawn three challengers in her bid for a second term representing the Second District — educator Daphne D. Bradford, CEO/nonprofit director Clint D. Carlton and CEO Katrina Williams.

The March 5 ballot will also include primaries for president, all of California’s 52 congressional seats, 20 of the 40 state Senate seats and all 80 seats in the Assembly.