The battle to become California’s attorney general is perhaps the most contested race on the June 7 state primary ballot.
The race pits Democratic incumbent Rob Bonta against an independent, Sacramento Dist. Atty. Anne Marie Schubert, and two Republicans, former Assistant U.S. Atty. Gen. Nathan Hochman and Los Angeles attorney Eric Early — and comes amid debate about rising crime and the impact of decades of criminal justice reform in California.
Here’s a look at the candidates.
BONTA: Gov. Gavin Newsom last year tapped Bonta to replace Xavier Becerra as attorney general after Becerra was appointed U.S. Health and Human Services secretary. Before his appointment, Bonta spent eight years in the state Assembly focused on efforts to modify the criminal justice system to favor rehabilitation over long incarceration.
SCHUBERT: A career prosecutor who ditched her GOP registration in 2018, Schubert is running as a “no party preference” candidate. Schubert, who is openly gay, said she’s the candidate for Californians who have grown “sick of politics” and hopes voters view her decades of experience fighting against child abuse and sexual assault and her 2019 prosecution of the Golden State Killer as proof that she’s right for the job.
HOCHMAN: With a résumé that includes overseeing the U.S. Department of Justice’s tax division and serving as an assistant U.S. attorney, Hochman said he is running a centrist campaign to restore political balance in Sacramento. He has promised to find a middle ground between the tough-on-crime policies of decades past and current laws championed by a more progressive criminal justice reform movement.
EARLY: The most conservative of the candidates, Early wants to investigate school closures during the COVID-19 pandemic and said he would do everything he can as attorney general to “outlaw” critical race theory in California schools. He is opposed to abortion and is a proud supporter of former President Trump.
Times columnist George Skelton has noted that the stakes are high. As Skelton put it:
The attorney general is powerful. The office is responsible for seeing that our laws are enforced — criminal and civil. It can appeal court decisions and bring suits. The last attorney general, Xavier Becerra, sued then-President Trump more than 100 times. Attorney general also is a potential springboard for higher office. Earl Warren, Pat Brown, George Deukmejian and Jerry Brown used the office as a steppingstone to governor. From there, Warren became U.S. Supreme Court chief justice. Kamala Harris won a U.S. Senate seat as attorney general, then became vice president.
Here’s a guide to the race from the pages of the Los Angeles Times and other sources.
(San Diego Union Tribune)
(San Diego Union-Tribune)
More guides to the election:
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.