By BRIAN MELLEY Associated Press
LOS ANGELES (AP) — After a scrappy debate that Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey believed lifted her campaign and was a “disaster” for her opponent, she got a text message from the LA mayor with unwelcome news: He was switching his endorsement to her challenger.
Eric Garcetti’s defection was a blow to Lacey after other high-profile Democratic politicians had withdrawn support or switched allegiances in the high-stakes campaign that has been reshaped after a summer of protests over police brutality.
The loss of support adds to a very unusual dynamic where Lacey, the first woman and Black person to run the nation’s largest local prosecutor’s office, faces some of her harshest criticism from Black Lives Matter supporters because of her failure to prosecute police officers for fatal shootings. Meanwhile, her opponent, a former police chief, is vilified by police unions and public safety groups because he backs aggressive criminal justice reform. He favors mental health and drug treatment over incarceration.
The contest to run an office with nearly 1,000 lawyers and a jurisdiction that covers the nation’s second-largest city and 10…