Gavin Newsom Throws His Support Behind DA Jackie Lacey’s Challenger George Gascón

The governor and San Francisco’s former police chief have history

Former San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón, who’s running against incumbent Jackie Lacey to become Los Angeles District Attorney, can add another big name to his list of supporters.

On Tuesday, Governor Gavin Newsom officially endorsed Gascón, citing his “track record of getting results,” and saying, “This November Angelenos will choose who to turn to as calls to reimagine our dated system of justice grow louder, and I urge them to join me once again in turning to George Gascón.”

It’s a blow to Lacey, who’s seen big names in local politics, including Rep. Adam Schiff, withdraw their support in recent months. Lacey has long been criticized by activists for being too reluctant to pursue charges against cops, and that sentiment has reached the mainstream in the wake of the murder of George Floyd. The Black Lives Matter movement has made Lacey the focus of both weekly protests downtown and occasional protests outside her San Fernando Valley home. During one such demonstration, Lacey’s husband David answered the door holding a handgun and threatened to shoot three protesters if they didn’t disperse. He’s currently facing three assault charges in the incident.

Of the Newsom endorsement, Lacey told LAist in a statement, “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 L.A. County safe.”

In 2011, Gascón became San Francisco’s first Latino DA when he was appointed by Newsom to replace Kamala Harris, who’d been elected to become California’s Attorney General. Gascón had served 18 months as police chief in San Francisco, following a decades-long career in the LAPD.

Even prior to Newsom’s nod, Gascón had generated an impressive list of endorsements that includes Senators Bernie Sanders and Liz Warren, Rep. Maxine Waters, former Los Angeles DA Gil Garcetti, and civil rights leader Dolores Huerta. Lacey’s biggest endorsement at the moment is Senator Dianne Feinstein; Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti is also listed among Lacey’s endorsements, although he appeared to walk back his support during a June interview.

Also sticking by Lacey: police unions. The Los Angeles Police Protective League and the Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs are both listed among her endorsements.

The runoff between Lacey and Gascón takes place on November 3.

RELATED: Mayor Garcetti Walks Back His Endorsement of Beleaguered DA Jackie Lacey

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