The Race to Unseat Gascón: Part One of Two

Eleven challengers are vying to unseat Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón in a crowded primary election on March 5, against the backdrop of two failed recall attempts and votes of no confidence by 37 cities including Beverly Hills. If no candidate gets more than 50% of the vote next month, the top two finishers will face off in the general election on Nov. 5.

“I believe the race for Los Angeles District Attorney has always been a competitive office to seek,” said Gascón, when asked whether a resurgent focus on law and order has fueled the contest. “Typically, many candidates are interested in running for office regardless of narrative amongst the policies of the candidates; the small field in 2020 was more of an outlier, historically.”

According to Calabasas City Councilmember James Bozajian, a past president of the union for L.A. County deputy DAs, “In the last 20 elections for district attorney, there were four occasions where six people rounded out the field. But never more, until now.”

The challengers include four prosecutors in Gascón’s office—Eric Siddall, John McKinney, Jonathan Hatami, and Maria Ramirez—two former federal prosecutors—Jeff Chemerinsky and Nathan Hochman—two deputy DAs turned Superior Court judges—Debra Archuleta and Craig Mitchell—as well as San Bernardino County prosecutor Lloyd Masson, retired judge David S. Milton, and criminal defense attorney Dan Kapelovitz. This two-part series provides a closer look at each of them.