Prosecutor Mario Trujillo Dropping Out of L.A. District Attorney Race

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Thu, Mar 8, 2012 at 3:50 PM

click to enlarge Mario Trujillo
  • Mario Trujillo
Updated below with a statement from Trujillo.

Prosecutor Mario Trujillo will soon drop out of the race for L.A. County district attorney due to health concerns, according to two sources close to the campaign.

Trujillo was a serious contender for D.A. Though he had no prior political experience, he did surprisingly well in fundraising, bringing in $429,000 last year, the second-highest total in the race.

Trujillo also had the advantage of being the only Latino in the race, in a county that is half Latino. Recently, he hired veteran political consultant Ace Smith, further bolstering his campaign's credibility.

Sources with the Trujillo campaign said he recently received some troubling test results, which forced him to drop out.

Trujillo's withdrawal puts Latino voters up for grabs, and seems

to solidify the position of City Attorney Carmen Trutanich.

Trutanich, who leads in fundraising with more than $1 million, recently

won the endorsement of the L.A. County Federation of Labor, which

carries special influence in the Latino community.

For the last year, Trujillo has been running on a "reform" platform. Though he has a decent relationship with incumbent D.A. Steve Cooley, he called some of Cooley's policies "archaic." In the sole debate so far, Trujillo staked out positions that were to the left of the other contenders, especially on issues like marijuana, prosecutions of unlicensed drivers, and the death penalty.

Trujillo's withdrawal leaves a six-candidate field: Trutanich, prosecutor Alan Jackson, Chief Deputy Jackie Lacey, and prosecutors Danette Meyers, Bobby Grace and Steve Ipsen.

Update: In a statement, Trujillo says he has "a medical condition just diagnosed from a colonoscopy procedure."

"As of today's date I still do not know what my course of treatment will be and the extent to which I will be debilitated. I feel it is unfair to my supporters to continue to solicit hard earned money when I am not sure I am capable of waging a vigorous campaign. More importantly, it is unfair to my family to continue to campaign when my energy should be more appropriately focused on my health."
Trujillo says he expects to make a full recovery.

Trujillo also says he will be reimbursing donors after paying the expenses he's incurred so far.

No word on an endorsement.

Update 2: John Thomas, campaign manager for Alan Jackson, takes issue with the claim that Trujillo's withdrawal helps Trutanich.

Thomas says that according to his internal poll, Trujillo's voters favor Jackson as their second choice by a 3-to-1 margin over Trutanich. This is after a bunch of positive stuff is read about the candidates.

Update 2.5: Worth noting that Trutanich recently came out in favor of drivers' licenses for illegal immigrants, which has hurt him with radio hosts John & Ken but probably helps with Latino voters. He also has the backing of Assemblyman Gil Cedillo, who sponsored the bill that would have given Trutanich control of a criminal grand jury. So: Certainly a strong competitor for the Latino vote.

Update 3: Thomas adds: "It's time to put politics aside and rally behind Mr. Trujillo for a speedy recovery."

First posted at 1:47 p.m.

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