Los Angeles City Attorney Carmen Trutanich announced today that he's running to replace retiring L.A. County District Attorney Steve Cooley.
The announcement goes against a pledge Trutanich made during the campaign for city attorney promising to seek a second term as city attorney rather than run for another office, including district attorney, while in the post. Trutanich said at the time, "It's time for a prosecutor, not a politician."
During his campaign against then-City Councilman Jack Weiss, Trutanich called on Weiss to swear the same pledge. If violated, the pledge required whoever won the election to take out full-page newspaper ads with a headshot and the words "I AM A LIAR" in large block print, as well as to donate $100,000 to an after-school program.
“I love my job as City Attorney, but I can’t do my job to protect residents — nor can our local police and sheriffs — without a crime fighting partner in the DA’s office,” Trutanich said in a statement.
Trutanich's release notes that other members of law enforcement, including Sheriff Lee Baca, have strongly urged him to run.
Baca responded to criticism over the pledge in a statement, saying, “All this to me is merely a diversion from the real fact and that's who's best qualified to serve as District Attorney for the County of Los Angeles." The release also says that the claim that Trutanich pledged to serve his entire term in office comes from "political opponents."
He's raised significantly more money than his declared competitors — $1 million in donations last year. "He’s raised more money than all of the major candidates combined," Trutanich's Senior Political Advisor John Shallman said in a statement. "It appears the only people unhappy with his candidacy are gang members and the other candidates."
Five prosecutors from the district attorney's office are also running, including Bobby Grace, Alan Jackson, Jacquelyn Lacey, Danette Meyers and Mario Trujillo.
Trutanich also announced he has the support of state Superintendent Tom Torlakson. Baca and Torlakson will serve as co-chairs of the campaign.
He's launched a campaign site at CarmenTrutanich.com. The campaign also released a short film, "Carmen Trutanich 'Tru Stories.'"