Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley has announced that he will not seek a fourth term and will work to help his chief deputy, Jacquelyn Lacey, succeed him.
Cooley’s supporters had encouraged him to seek reelection, but he chose instead to help Lacey in her campaign to be the next district attorney of Los Angeles County.
“I’ll be 65-and-a-half years old, and I’ve decided that my chief deputy Jacquelyn Lacey, who’s put a nice campaign team together, would be a great successor,” he said. “So I’m at this point getting behind her campaign.”
Cooley leaves office as the longest serving district attorney of Los Angeles County. He was elected 11 years ago and is the first person in over 70 years to win three terms to serve that office.
“When I complete my current third term as DA, I will have been in public service for 39 years and 10 months,” Cooley said.
Some candidates are already in the running, and a number of others have indicated that they would run if Cooley did not. His announcement now throws the race open.
Lacey, an African-American, was appointed earlier this year to the No. 2 position of the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, but winning election as DA will be an uphill battle.
She is campaigning against several candidates, all of whom are veteran LA prosecutors: Deputy District Attorney Danette Meyers (who is African-American) was Los Angeles County Bar Association president in 2008; Deputy District Attorney Bobby Grace (who is African-American) is vice-president of education and Training for Black Prosecutors of Los Angeles; Deputy District Attorney Mario Trujillo (who is Latino); and Deputy District Attorney Alan Jackson (who is white), who was chosen Prosecutor of the Year in 2008 by the Association of Deputy District Attorneys and received the same designation in 2010 from the Los Angeles County Bar Association.
Others could still join the race.
Last year, Cooley ran for California’s attorney general but lost narrowly to San Francisco’s district attorney, Kamala Harris, an African-American female. In that election, Cooley also lost his own county to Harris.