Los Angeles County DA Gascón Up Against Nine Challengers Amid ‘Soft On Crime’ Accusations

The county's top prosecutor survived a recall effort last year.
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - DECEMBER 09: San Francisco district attorney George Gascon speaks during a new conference to announce a civil consumer protection action against rideshare company Uber on December 9, 2014 in San Francisco, California. Gascon, along with Los Angeles district attorney Jackie Lacey, announced the filing of a civil consumer protection action against Uber Technologies Inc. for making false and misleading statements to consumers and for engaging in business practices that violate California State law. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón has an uphill battle to re-election as he faces nine challengers who want to take his job in March.

The top prosecutor survived a recall effort last year, but his progressive criminal justice reform policies have continued to come under fire from critics who accuse him of being soft on crime.

Gascón’s nine challengers are all prosecutors or former prosecutors, and most have strong words to say about how they think his policies have failed to address crime.

One of those challengers is Deputy District Attorney Maria Ramirez, who has worked in the DA’s office for 30 years and claims she was demoted for challenging Gascón’s policies on sentencing enhancements and whether juveniles could be tried as adults. She is one of about 20 prosecutors suing Gascón for retaliation or defamation — accusations he has denied.

Also running is Deputy District Attorney John McKinney, who is one of Gascón’s most outspoken critics. McKinney has promised to “repeal and replace” every policy Gascón put in place on the DA’s first day back in 2020.

McKinney has also slammed Gascón’s ban on prosecutors accompanying victims to parole hearings.

Deputy District Attorney Jonathan Hatami, a longtime child abuse prosecutor and Army veteran, runs an X account that consistently attacks Gascón, highlighting specific incidents of crime in the city.

Nathan Hochman, a former federal prosecutor, is also running against the DA and has compared Los Angeles to “Gotham City” with its “rampant crime.”

Deputy District Attorney Eric Siddall, who has prosecuted gang members, was previously a vice president of the union representing line prosecutors. His union managed to slow down Gascón’s criminal justice reform agenda when their 2021 lawsuit was granted an injunction.


Superior Court Judge Craig Mitchell, another former prosecutor, was a deputy district attorney for 11 years in the city, and said Gascón “places criminals over victims and ideology over common sense.”

Mitchell started the “Skid Row Running Club,” a jogging group for those at risk of homelessness and addiction.

Jeff Chemerinsky, the former head of violent crimes prosecutions for the U.S. attorney’s office in Los Angeles, has prosecuted high-level members of MS-13.

Superior Court Judge Debra Archuleta, another veteran Los Angeles County prosecutor, said that under her watch, “violent criminals will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

David Milton, a retired Superior Court judge and Los Angeles County prosecutor, as well as an Army veteran, has called Gascón “soft on crime” and is running to replace him.

Some of Gascón’s challengers have already made impressive fundraising hauls.

Hochman took an early fundraising lead with $665,000 raised in the first half of this year.

Judge Craig Mitchell’s campaign has pulled in $100,000 as of last weekend.

“Your belief in our vision for a fair and just legal system has been the driving force behind this campaign,” Mitchell told supporters in a statement. “Together, we can restore equal justice under the law in the County of Los Angeles.”

Last year, Gascón avoided a recall by about 40,000 signatures. However, the 28% signature rejection rate was the highest on record compared to past recalls.

Polling at the time suggested Gascón would likely have been recalled if the measure made the ballot.

Violent crime in Los Angeles has fallen overall since last year, but the city is dealing with rampant theft, including a recent string of smash-and-grab robberies, according to police data.

Robbery and property crime are up in all categories since two years ago. Personal theft is up a whopping 41% since 2021.

Meanwhile, the DA’s office is also battling a caseload crisis.

Gascón is not the only progressive prosecutor in a major city to attract a wave of criticism for his handling of violent crime.

Last year, San Francisco residents voted overwhelmingly in June to recall progressive District Attorney Chesa Boudin over his failure to control crime in the city. Philadelphia considered ousting its progressive district attorney last year as well.

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  Los Angeles County DA Gascón Up Against Nine Challengers Amid ‘Soft On Crime’ Accusations