The race for Orange County district attorney has largely been centered around the incumbent, Todd Spitzer.
Spitzer, a Republican former county supervisor, was elected four years ago as a candidate who pledged to reform an office plagued by scandal. But now, some are saying another change is needed.
In part, the challenges for Spitzer are demographic. Orange County has evolved from its John Wayne-style law-and-order roots to a place that twice voted against Donald Trump and is majority Latino and Asian.
Spitzer has also faced criticism after racist comments he made while discussing the case of a Black defendant surfaced in February. Spitzer has apologized for the comments, saying he “used an example that was insensitive.”
In response, some political groups and district attorneys in other jurisdictions withdrew their endorsements of him. His opponents have attacked him from both the left and right, with a common theme that Spitzer has jeopardized criminal cases and shown poor judgment.
Spitzer, who has branded himself as a law-and-order candidate, rejects that criticism. His campaign hashtag is #NoLAinOC and he has focused his messaging around protecting Orange County from becoming like Los Angeles.
Spitzer has criticized one of his opponents, Peter Hardin, a Democrat, as being part of an “anti-law enforcement, anti-public safety, pro-criminal movement.”
Hardin has said that, if elected, he would not seek the death penalty, replace cash bail and pull back on charging children as adults. His ideas align him with some of the more progressive district attorneys in the nation and contrast starkly with Spitzer, who has run a campaign largely centered on enhancing public safety by punishing criminals.
Among the issues debated during the campaign: How to deal with rising crime, the management of the district attorney’s office, law enforcement accountability, the death penalty and justice reform.
Issues inside the D.A.’s office
Readings from other publications
Breaking down the issues in the district attorney’s race
How the candidates would tackle crime
Video: Forum of DA candidates
(League of Women Voters)
Where the candidates stand on the issues?
(Voice of OC)