LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey is fighting to keep her seat for a third term despite an aggressive challenge by George Gascon, a former Los Angeles Police Department assistant chief of police and San Francisco district attorney.
As of early Wednesday afternoon, Gascon held onto the lead with 53.77% of the vote over Lacey, who had received 46.23%% of the vote, according to the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk’s Office. Gascon was leading by more than 222,000 votes.
County election officials noted that there are still “many outstanding ballots to be counted,” but it wasn’t immediately known how many.
“While the initial results are certainly promising, we’re not prepared to declare victory at this moment, but this community’s demand for justice, equity and change was really heard loud and clear on Election Day,” Max Szabo, a Gascon spokesperson, said.
A group of Black Lives Matter Los Angeles demonstrators gathered outside the Hall of Justice Wednesday afternoon, celebrating Gascon’s lead. The group that usually chants “Jackie Lacey must go,” changed their mantra to “Jackie Lacey will go.”
“We have a new district attorney that’s coming in, who we’ve already put on notice that he’ll be held accountable too, but who has already proven himself to be much more accessible and willing to converse around the issues that are important to us,” Melina Abdullah, co-founder of BLM Los Angeles, said.
And while the results have been trending in Gascon’s favor, Lacey released a statement calling for all votes to be counted before a winner is declared.
“With much of the vote still out, we will be awaiting further results,” she said. “This process is going to take some time, and it is important that every vote is counted and the people of L.A. County have their voices heard.”
In the March primary, Lacey garnered significantly more support than Gascon, but was ultimately unable to claim the majority needed to avoid a runoff, though the primary happened before the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police, which sparked nationwide protests and fueled calls for more aggressive prosecution of law enforcement officers involved in civilian deaths.
The incumbent Lacey — elected in 2012 as the first woman and first Black prosecutor to hold the post — has the support of many unions, including those representing the police, sheriff’s deputies, firefighters and deputy district attorneys.
That backing would ordinarily put her in a position of significant strength. However, at a time when many are calling for rethinking the role of law enforcement, police support may be a negative signal for some
Lacey also has the support of supervisors Hilda Solis, Kathryn Barger, Sheila Keuhl and Janice Hahn.
Lacey also lost some high-profile backers after the primary, including Rep Adam Schiff, D-Burbank, and Mayor Eric Garcetti, who withdrew his support, tweeting he was proud to endorse Gascon.
Gascon is backed by Gov. Gavin Newsom, Sen. Kamala Harris and Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)