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Jackie Lacey leads in early counting in L.A. County D.A. race

PHOTOS: California voters head to polls

Veteran prosecutor Jackie Lacey led Tuesday in the early vote tally in her bid to become the county's first female and first African American district attorney, edging ahead of Deputy Dist. Atty. Alan Jackson in the battle to become L.A.'s top prosecutor.

The early count for the two-candidate runoff includes the first release of mail-in ballots turned in before election day.

Lacey has the support of her boss, Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley, who is retiring after three terms. Jackson, a star trial attorney in the office, is best known for his successful murder prosecution of music producer Phil Spector.

LIVE RESULTS: California election | National election

A spokesman for Jackson cautioned against reading too much into the early vote tally. Campaign strategist John Thomas said Jackson has relied largely on recent television ads that he said would be more likely to influence voters heading to the polls on Tuesday rather than those who cast absentee ballots weeks ago.

The election marks the first time in nearly 50 years that an incumbent is not involved in the race to run the most powerful office in the county's criminal justice system -- one responsible for prosecuting roughly 60,000 felony cases a year, including murders, rapes and robberies.

Each candidate raised more than $1 million, and the campaign was at times bitterly fought.

PHOTOS: California voters head to polls

Lacey, 55, touted herself as the only candidate with the experience to run the office of about 1,000 prosecutors. Cooley selected her as chief deputy – the No. 2 position in the office – in March 2011, shortly before announcing his own plans to retire.

While the position is nonpartisan, Lacey, a registered Democrat, picked up a slew of endorsements from prominent Democratic politicians, including California Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

Jackson, a registered Republican, had the support of the county’s prominent Republican politicians, including U.S. Rep. Howard P. “Buck” McKeon, former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan and county Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich.

Jackson, 47, pointed to his credentials as a frontline prosecutor, saying he had the on-the-ground experience needed to run a modern district attorney’s office.

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--Jack Leonard and Abby Sewell

Photo: Los Angeles County district attorney candidates Alan Jackson, left, and Jackie Lacey have hardworking, blue-collar family backgrounds. Credit: Los Angeles Times

 
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L.A. Now is the Los Angeles Times’ breaking news section for Southern California. It is produced by more than 80 reporters and editors in The Times’ Metro section, reporting from the paper’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters as well as bureaus in Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Ventura and West Los Angeles.
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