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Gov. Newsom Endorses George Gascón Over Incumbent Jackie Lacey in Los Angeles DA’s Race

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The state’s top elected official has weighed in on who should be the top prosecutor in Los Angeles.

On Tuesday, Governor Gavin Newsom threw his support behind George Gascón in the race for District Attorney of L.A. County over incumbent Jackie Lacey.

The announcement isn’t a shocker from Newsom, who — as Mayor of San Francisco — tapped Gascón to lead the city’s police department and the District Attorney’s office. Crime and incarceration went down during Gascón’s tenure, Newsom said in a statement, calling him a “leader in the fight to reform our dated system of justice.”

Fact check: violent crime and murders did drop under Gascón. But S.F. Mayor London Breed and the police union have argued that reforms he backed were responsible for a rise in property crime.

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The race is being closely watched by criminal justice reformers nationwide, who see it as the next stage in the battle between progressive prosecutors and a more moderate establishment.

The endorsement comes the same week that Gascón’s campaign sent a letter to the D.A.’s office alleging Lacey had improperly used public resources for campaign videos — a claim that was disputed by multiple election law experts.

The Lacey campaign shared a statement with LAist in response to Newsom' pick:

"I respect Governor Newsom, and I understand why he chose to endorse his former San Francisco police chief, due to their history together in San Francisco. I'm focused on winning this race and doing the job I was elected to do — reforming our criminal justice system and keeping LA County safe."

Lacey has seen her political fortunes grow more uncertain throughout the summer: her husband, David Lacey, was charged earlier this month with three misdemeanor counts of assault with a firearm. Lacey pointed a gun at three Black Lives Matter-LA activists who came to the couple’s home in the early hours of March 2 to demand a meeting with the top prosecutor.

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BLM-LA and other community groups argue Lacey has not prosecuted enough police officers who have shot Blacks and Latinos, and they’ve been protesting regularly outside Lacey’s downtown office for years to demand a change in the D.A.’s office.

Top Democrats such as Los Angeles-area Congressmen Ted Lieu and Adam Schiff have pulled their endorsements of Lacey. Mayor Eric Garcetti endorsed Lacey before Gascón entered the race and has since suggested it may be time for a new county prosecutor.

This story has been updated with a statement from Jackie Lacey.