The first attempt to recall Los Angeles district attorney George Gascón went down in flames last year much to the dismay of right-center law enforcement boosters and MAGA activists. However, it appears the new recall attempt—funded by deep-pocketed Hollywood players and Democratic donors—is rapidly gaining steam.
On Monday, a pair of major law-enforcement unions took a big step toward boosting the Recall Gascón campaign. The Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs, representing 8,000 L.A. county-sworn sheriff’s deputies, announced it is joining the effort. Additionally, the Association of Deputy District Attorneys, which represents about 800 of Gascón’s own prosecutors, announced it will hold a membership vote on whether to endorse the recall of their own boss.
Neither union endorsed the previous recall effort.
ALADS, which donated $1.3 million with the aim to defeat Gascón in the 2020 race —the largest amount contributed by any single group—slammed the DA in a statement, saying the 67-year-old criminal-justice reformer “emboldens criminal behavior and adds to the continued chaos and lawlessness.”
Considering the battle the county prosecutors’ union has noisily waged against Gascón in court and in the media, the union’s endorsement of the recall seems all but guaranteed. Union president and deputy DA Michele Hanisee extended a personal invitation for Gascón to make his case against recall when the membership meets to vote on Feb. 16. But there is one caveat: “Please note: this invitation is for you, personally. No surrogates will be accepted,” Hanisee wrote.
The latest effort to recall Gascón is taking shape along lines similar to the November 2020 election, when he overcame strenuous opposition from the law-enforcement community to defeat the incumbent D.A. Jackie Lacey by more than 264,000 votes.
But in the wake of some well-publicized crimes since he took office—in particular the murder of Jaqueline Avant, 81-year-old wife of legendary Motown producer Clarence Avant, at the couple’s Beverly Hills home—support among the Westside’s affluent community, never high to begin with, has plummeted even further.
Reliably right-wing mega donors like Beverly Hills real-estate baron Geoffrey Palmer and Palos Verdes Estates investor Gerald Marcil are also once again spending generously to defeat Gascón. South L.A.-based civil rights advocate and radio host Earl Ofari Hutchinson, who is working to defeat the recall, accused Gascón’s opponents of running “a thinly veiled right-wing effort to sabotage Gascón’s much-needed criminal justice reforms.”
The Los Angeles County Registrar approved a second recall attempt against the D.A. on Jan. 27, thereby officially opening the 160-day window for signature collection.
Steve Cooley, the former L.A. district attorney who is a proponent of the recall, told Los Angeles that law-enforcement groups previously cautious toward the recall changed their minds after polling showed 61 percent of voters said they would recall the sitting district attorney if the issue were put on the ballot.
“Groups that were cautious before have made up their minds,” Cooley said, “and committed more money.”
To get the recall on the November 2022 ballot, supporters must collect signatures from 566,857 registered voters by July 6.
But historically, recalling a countywide elected official is always a tough proposition, and an expensive one—the previous attempt to recall Gascón raised more than 1 million before ultimately going down to resounding defeat.
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