Lacey, Jackson poised for D.A. runoff; Trutanich running third
Los Angeles County prosecutors Jackie Lacey and Alan Jackson appear headed for a runoff in the race to be the next district attorney, edging out City Atty. Carmen Trutanich, who is running third.
The outcome is considered a surprise: Trutanich was widely viewed as the favorite to become the county's top prosecutor.
With 100% of the precincts counted early Wednesday, Lacey had 31.95% of the vote, Jackson 23.69% and Trutanich 23.32%. If the numbers hold, Lacey and Jackson would face each other in a November runoff.
Six candidates battled to succeed Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley, who is retiring this year after serving three terms.
The election was the first time in nearly 50 years that an incumbent was not involved in the race to run the most powerful office in the county's criminal justice system -– one responsible for prosecuting about 60,000 felony cases a year, including murders, rapes and robberies.
The campaign was marked by unusual agreement on the need for crime-prevention programs and rehabilitation of more nonviolent offenders to help keep limited jail space for the most serious criminals. But the candidates traded barbs over who would be best suited to lead the office.
Trutanich was considered the early front-runner, facing five career prosecutors largely unknown outside the local criminal-justice community. He raised about $1.5 million, far outpacing his rivals. But he also drew fire for several campaign missteps, including his about-face on a pledge he made during the 2009 election for city attorney not to run for higher office until he finished two terms.
Three of the contenders –- Lacey, Bobby Grace and Danette Meyers –- hoped to make history in a county that has never elected a black district attorney, with two of them also aiming to become the first woman to hold the post.
Jackson, best known for his role in successfully prosecuting legendary music producer Phil Spector on a murder charge, won endorsements from the county's Republican Party and more than a dozen local police unions.
The final candidate, John L. Breault III, is the longest-serving prosecutor in the district attorney's office, which he joined in 1969.
-- Jack Leonard
Photo: Los Angeles County district attorney candidate Jackie Lacey, center, celebrates while watching election returns Tuesday night. Credit: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times