LOS ANGELES – George Gascon was clinging to a lead Wednesday in a closely contested race for Los Angeles County district attorney against two-term incumbent Jackie Lacey.
With initial vote-counting from Tuesday’s election completed, Gascon had 53.8% of the vote, to Lacey’s 46.2%, with roughly 200,000 votes separating them. County election officials noted that there are still “many outstanding ballots to be counted,” but it wasn’t immediately known how many.
Early Tuesday night, Lacey was not ready to concede the race, telling ABC7, “I expect those numbers to change and to change in my favor.”
Gascon — a former LAPD assistant chief, chief of police in Mesa, Arizona, and San Francisco D.A. — positioned himself as a reformer in the race against Lacey. As incumbent, Lacey was plagued by protests from progressives who felt she was not aggressive enough in prosecuting police and sheriff’s deputies involved in civilian deaths.
She garnered significantly more voter support than Gascon in the March primary election but fell less than two percentage points short of the majority necessary to avoid a runoff.
But that primary preceded the in-custody death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, which sparked nationwide protests and only intensified the opposition to Lacey.
Incumbent Lacey — elected in 2012 as the first woman and first Black prosecutor to hold the post — said she was happy with the race she ran.
“I’m feeling good, actually. I feel like I did my best to present myself as a candidate I truly am,” Lacey told ABC7. “I did my best to explain a lot of the details of what goes into running the largest D.A.’s office in the nation.”
Gascon also expressed satisfaction with his campaign.
“I’m really at peace. I think that this has been a campaign that has been driven by passion, by an honest commitment to reimagine our criminal justice system, moving away from punishment. … It’s really about redemption,” Gascon told Channel 7.