Nathan Hochman faces George Gascón in LA County district attorney runoff.

Los Angeles — Former federal prosecutor Nathan Hochman will face progressive Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón in a runoff. Gascón and Hochman will face off in November for the top prosecutor job in the nation's most populated county.

Former California attorney general candidate Hochman. He lost against Democratic Rob Bonta in 2022 as a Republican. Hochman's district attorney campaign raised $2 million to unseat Gascón.

California candidates need 50%-plus-one votes to win the primary. Anything less forces a November runoff between the top two candidates regardless of party. Political observers predict Gascón to advance from the nonpartisan primary but are less bullish about the autumn.

Hochman was one of 11 candidates to Gascón, who was elected in 2020 on a criminal justice reform platform after police killed George Floyd. Both recall attempts against Gascón within his first 100 days and afterward failed to get on the ballot.

Hochman has exploited voter discontent over crime and homelessness, which unseated Boudin in a 2022 recall election. Hochman, a defense attorney, promised in his campaign ads: “It’s time we had a DA who fights for victims, not criminals.”

Line prosecutors in Gascón's office, county judges, and former federal prosecutors like Hochman blamed Gascón and his progressive practices for citywide safety concerns. They showed frightening footage of luxury store smash-and-grab robberies. Even the mayor and police chief of Los Angeles declared in January that they were attempting to improve the city's image due to the widespread sense of unease.

From 2022 to 2023, property crime in Los Angeles County's sheriff's jurisdiction grew over 3%, whereas violent crime declined about 1.5%. During his first term, Gascón immediately implemented his campaign agenda: no death penalty, no juveniles prosecuted as adults, no cash bail for misdemeanors and nonviolent felonies, and no enhancements for repeat offenses or gang membership.

Early in his term, he was compelled to turn back some of his largest measures, such as eliminating more than 100 enhancements and making hate crimes felonies. Gascón reversed his decision after victims' advocates slammed it, restoring enhancements for children, older persons, and individuals targeted for race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or handicap.

Hochman has promised to repeal several of his most progressive actions, including his early rulings banning sentencing increases.