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Trutanich: 'Most vitriolic, nasty campaign' in a long time

June 7, 2012 |  8:43 am

City Atty. Carmen Trutanich

City Atty. Carmen Trutanich, who appears to have fallen short in his bid to be elected district attorney, acknowledged missteps with his campaign, but said it was "the most vitriolic, nasty" race he's seen in a long time.

Trutanich was the candidate with the most money and name recognition and was expected to sail into the November runoffs. Instead, he finished third, setting up a historic runoff election between two veteran L.A. County prosecutors -- Jackie Lacey, chief deputy district attorney, and Alan Jackson, a supervisor in the office's major crimes division.

"It's a very big upset," said Raphael Sonenshein, executive director of the Pat Brown Institute of Public Affairs at Cal State L.A. "I had to look at the numbers a bunch of times to make sure there wasn't a typographical error."

INTERACTIVE MAP: California primary results

Trutanich, whose term as city attorney expires next year, said Wednesday that he intends to campaign for reelection in the city.

"You get wounded but I'm not dying," he said. "You work hard, get a lot of financial backing from all over the county, you try your hardest and you come up short. That's humbling."

Trutanich said he took responsibility for the problems of the campaign. Among the factors working against him, he said, was a promise he made during the 2009 city attorney campaign to donate $100,000 to an after-school program and to take out full-page newspaper ads declaring "I AM A LIAR" if he ran for another office before finishing two terms in the city.

The race was marked by unusual agreement among the candidates on the need to expand crime-prevention programs and rehabilitation of more nonviolent offenders to help keep limited space behind bars for the most serious criminals. In the absence of real disagreement on the issues, the campaign ultimately focused on what sort of district attorney Trutanich would make.

"This whole race was a referendum on Trutanich," Sonenshein said.

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-- Jack Leonard, David Zahniser and Victoria Kim

Photo: City Atty. Carmen Trutanich. Credit: Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times

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