As the race to replace him heats up, Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon is already running an aggressive, well-funded, well-endorsed campaign to keep his job.
Only part of that sentence is true – the part about Gascon’s campaign is most assuredly not.
On the end of June, 2023, required campaign finance forms, Gascon listed a campaign net worth – cash on hand minus debts (which are most likely revolving things like credit cards, etc.) of less than zero. He had about $28,000 on hand and outstanding debts of about $30,000 (though he reportedly now has a positive balance).
For comparison, the other candidates who filed reports in June – the early declarers – all had money in the bank: John McKinney had about $80,000, Jon Hatami had about $190,000, Maria Ramirez had $130,000, and the race’s lone Republican (he recently changed to “decline to state,” saying the DA’s office should be apolitical and urged other candidates to do the same) – Nathan Hochman – had $550,000.
In his 2020 defeat of Jackie Lacey, Gascon raised and spent $12.5 million. To be blunt, that is not going to even come close to happening this time.
Gascon also seems to have a pair of other campaign committees – an attorney’s fees committee and an office holder committee, both essentially with empty coffers at reporting time (there is also a George Gasc?n for District Attorney committee but it is unknown if that is related to his campaign; either way – if someone else set it up or Gascon’s campaign people missed a typo – it’s funny.)
As for endorsements, Gascon’s website lists none so far. The endorsements he got in 2020 – from Mayor Karen Bass to John Legend to Gavin Newsom to Megan Rapinoe – are no longer on the site.
One endorsement Gascon will not be getting is that of SEIU 721, a union representing about 40,000 local government workers. While it is true the union stayed out last time, the decision could bode poorly for Gascon getting other key union endorsements and the money and foot-power they bring.
It is also very unclear if the Democratic Party will endorse Gascon as it did against Lacey. With every other candidate save Hochman being a Democrat and Gascon clearly in trouble, the party may very well likely take a pass on endorsing anyone before the March primary. That would be a significant blow to Gascon’s campaign.
There are other clear signs of grumbling in in the LA Democratic power blob – Bass didn’t invite Gascon to the recent announcement of the “smash and grab” crime task force – not even getting invited to a press conference to launch a task force that his office will carry much of the burden of is politically unheard of.
Additionally, California Attorney General Rob Bonta – very close political friend of Gascon – decided his office would take over the prosecution of a retail theft ring; it appears the days of letting Gascon’s minions slide are over and pics like this may be a thing of the past.
It is distinctly possible that LA progressive power brokers have already ditched Gascon. Jeff Chemerinsky, son of Uber-progressive Berkeley Law School dean Erwin Chemerinsky, has entered the race. While Jeff was a prosecutor, he did put people in jail but he also – per his website – “strongly believes in criminal justice reform because mass incarceration does not work.”
Chemerinsky could emerge as the go-to candidate for the people who so strongly backed, and donated to Gascon the last time around, especially if the Gascon campaign appears to continue to wallow.
And if anyone was expecting Gascon to temper his policies as the vote approaches, they will be disappointed. As reported by the Westside Current, Gascon has hired a campaign firm that is closely tied to the Los Angeles Democrat Socialist of America (DSA) chapter.
Gascon’s poll numbers have been abysmal for nearly the past two years. Polls taken during the abortive recall attempt showed that if the questions made it on the ballot, Gascon would have been removed from office by a 2 to 1 margin and an April poll showed his approval rating at only 27%.
If Gascon’s continues to tank, it is possible he could not even make it to the run-off in November (the top two vote getters in the primary advance to the run-off,) hence the Chemerinsky option. While Gascon can expect to get about 20% of the vote – name recognition, power of incumbency, DSA members – and in a field of 10 or so candidates that should be enough, it is widely believed that ANY of the candidates would crush him in November (again, hence the Chemerinsky option for wealthy westsiders.)
Speaking of wealthy westsiders – they made up the bulk of Gascon’s support in 2020 and, along with Silicon Valley zillionaires, gave him the bulk of his money – they have unquestionably turned on Gascon.
They did so because it finally occurred to them that the reason they can’t wear expensive jewelry in public and can’t sit outside at restaurants for fear of being robbed and beaten is the guy they voted for – George Gascon.