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'Progressive' Peter Hardin To Challenge Todd Spitzer For OC DA Seat

Peter Hardin. (Courtesy of Peter Hardin)
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Peter Hardin today declared his candidacy in next year's Orange County District Attorney election. He said incumbent DA Todd Spitzer has created "a vacuum of leadership" that has led to "a sea of outrageous scandals."

Hardin, 42, rose to the rank of Captain in the Marines and served in Afghanistan. After arriving in Orange County in 2012, he spent a year as a deputy DA and two years as a Special U.S. Attorney before going into private practice.

Hardin describes himself as a progressive, although he does not promise the kind of sweeping reforms being instituted by L.A. DA George Gascón. He said sentencing enhancements can result in excessive sentences and may increase recidivism, but he's not ready to say which ones he would stop using.

Hardin said he is in favor ending cash bail and he would not pursue the death penalty. He would get rid of the DA office's DNA database, and while saying "by and large" law enforcement officers are "heroes ... I won't be afraid to prosecute [police]officers when they break the law."

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Spitzer was elected to the office in 2018, defeating incumbent DA Tony Rackaukus who was running for his sixth term. Spitzer has been sharply critical of Gascón's decision not to pursue more aggressive sentencing. Last month, Spitzer released "guiding principles" which included the statement that he would stop "systemic mass incarceration." After he released that statement, an L.A. Times editorial asked if Spitzer — who it points out has "built his career on 'tough-on-crime' rhetoric" — was "trying to have it both ways?"


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