Introducing the Candidates Vying to Challenge George Gascón

Credits: New York Post

As the March 5 primary approaches, Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón encounters significant competition, with left-wing billionaire George Soros financially supporting him amid accusations of contributing to a decline in public safety in Los Angeles.

Leading in the polls, Gascón faces 11 primary opponents, five of whom trail him by 13 points or less. The California Elections and Policy Poll indicates that only 15% of likely voters intend to vote for Gascón, with the majority remaining undecided.

Gascón’s policies, such as rejecting “gang enhancements” and not charging most juvenile defendants as adults, have sparked controversy. Despite his claims of data-driven reforms aimed at enhancing safety and reducing disparities, property crime, including car thefts and burglaries, has notably increased under his tenure.

George Gascón (Creits: Spectrum News)

Gascón’s primary opponent, Jonathan Hatami, a former deputy district attorney with 8% support, criticized the current state of society in Los Angeles, emphasizing public safety concerns.

Hatami, a former child abuse prosecutor, clashed with Gascón over a case involving the torture and murder of a child, highlighting a policy dispute that arose shortly after Gascón assumed office.

Nathan Hochman, a prosecutor with 4% support, pledges to reverse Gascón’s “pro-criminal policies” and prioritize the safety of victims over defending criminals. Hochman, a former U.S. assistant attorney general, emphasizes a departure from Gascón’s approach.

The issue of homelessness in Los Angeles, with 47,000 homeless people and an annual expenditure of over $1 billion, has become prominent. Gascón’s role in addressing homelessness is limited to prosecuting crimes committed by the homeless, as stated in a January debate.

Other primary contenders include Jeff Chemerinsky, an assistant U.S. attorney with 2% support, emphasizing collaboration with law enforcement; Craig Mitchell, a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge and former prosecutor also with 2%, highlighting the need to address addiction to reduce crime; and Maria Ramirez, a deputy district attorney with 2%, criticizing Gascón’s failed leadership.

Gascón’s association with Soros, who contributed $4.7 million to support him in 2020, adds a layer of complexity to the electoral landscape. Gascón faced a recall effort in 2022, surviving after the petition failed to meet the required number of signatures.

While Gascón, Hatami, Chemerinsky, and Ramirez did not respond to requests for comment, the upcoming primary underscores the diverse perspectives and challenges within the Los Angeles County District Attorney race.

With a field of candidates offering distinct visions for the role, the primary’s outcome will significantly shape the trajectory of criminal justice in Los Angeles.

I'm Richard Rosales, I cover political news and ongoing US elections.