With the race to lead the country’s largest prosecutor’s office entering its final stretch, the incumbent, Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey, squared off in a debate Thursday night with her progressive challenger, George Gascón, who is riding a swell in endorsements and fundraising after a tumultuous summer shifted political winds in Los Angeles.
The nationally watched contest comes against the backdrop of a burgeoning movement for criminal justice reform, prompted by the killing of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis and those of other people of color.
Lacey, a 34-year veteran of the office she now leads, was elected district attorney in 2012 and won a second term unopposed in 2016. She is the first woman and the first Black person to head the county prosecutor’s office in its 170-year history.
Gascón led the San Francisco district attorney’s office for eight years. He previously served as a top official with the Los Angeles Police Department and led the police departments of San Francisco and Mesa, Ariz.
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