Mitchell snags seat on Board of Supervisors

Jackie Lacey trails George Gascón in D.A’s contest

By Sue Favor

Contributing Writer

LOS ANGELES — Two hotly contested races involving women that captivated South Los Angeles voters came to totally difference conclusion in the Nov. 3 general election surprising ends in Tuesday’s general election.

State Sen. Holly Mitchell won the 2nd District seat on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, receiving 60.86% of the vote to defeat Los Angeles City Councilman Herb Wesson to replace termed-out Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas.

In the contentious race for Los Angeles County district attorney, challenger George Gascon unseated two-term incumbent Jackie Lacey with almost 54% of the vote, marking a dramatic turnaround from the March primary election when Lacey almost won reelection that would have allowed her to avoid this week’s runoff.

Mitchell came into politics in 2010 after many years working in child development and family care. She was first elected to the state Assembly and then to the state Senate, where she championed bills for families, the poor, children and the homeless.

Wesson, who has held public office for 22 years, had been termed out on the City Council, where he was president when the FBI launched a corruption investigation into City Hall in 2017. Though not investigated himself, Wesson received criticism for his ties to Councilman Jose Huizar, who has since been indicted.

Mitchell’s election puts five women on the five-member Board of Supervisors for the first time in county history.

The district attorney’s race seemed locked up for Lacey in the primary, though with 48 percent of the vote to Gascon’s 28 percent, she was shy of the number needed to prevent a runoff.

During the social injustice riots of the spring and summer across the country, Lacey came under fire for her failure to bring charges against police officers involved in the shootings of unarmed Black men. Of 258 instances since being elected in 2012, Lacey brought charges against just one officer.

Gascon was a Los Angeles police officer for 20 years, a police chief in Mesa, Arizona and in San Francisco, and then served as district attorney in San Francisco, appointed by then-Mayor Gavin Newsom after Kamala Harris was elected to the Senate.

He promised to be more aggressive in pursuing charges against officers involved in deadly shootings. In a debate last month, Gascon said Lacey was stuck in the past.

Unlike the supervisor and D.A. races, there was no surprise in the race for the L.A. City Council’s 10th District seat, as Ridley-Thomas soundly thumped challenger Grace Yoo with 61.25% of the vote.

Ridley-Thomas was first elected to the City Council in 1991. He also has served in the California State Assembly, the California Senate, and the Board of Supervisors. Yoo, an attorney and community activist, is the former executive director of the Korean American Coalition.

Ridley-Thomas said he had to find new ways to connect with constituents during his campaign, which included a lot of virtual meetings. He promised to include those who voted for him in the reform efforts he has planned in taking the seat.

“Tonight’s story will be framed as an experienced elected official returning to City Council, but that’s only half the story,” Ridley-Thomas said. “It’s not just about me. We are going there together. I’m going there with community leaders working to tackle homelessness, reform law enforcement, support the arts in our community and create a more just and fairer Los Angeles.”

Incumbents were successful in their bids for reelection in other races in South Los Angeles and surrounding communities Nov. 3.

U.S. Reps. Karen Bass and Maxine Waters were easily returned to office in the 37th and 43rd Congressional Districts and Reps. Lucille Roybal-Allard and Nanette Barragan also were reelected in the 40th and 44th districts.

State Sen. Steve Bradford was re-elected in the 35th state Senate District that covers Gardena, Hawthorne and Inglewood and Assembly members Reggie-Jones Sawyer, Mike Gipson, Autumn Burke and Sydney Kamlager also won reelection.

Kamala Harris’ attempt to become the first Black woman to be elected vice president was still alive Nov. 4 as the presidential race went down to the wire. With five states — Arizona, Nevada, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Georgia yet to declare a winner Nov. 4, Biden had an estimated 253 electoral votes, 17 short of the 270 required to win the presidency.

Vote counting was expected to continue onto the weekend in some of those states