"This is the best candidate, qualifications, qualifications, qualifications," Cooley said. "Experience, that's what this is all about."
She was pitted against Alan Jackson, the second in charge for the D.A.'s major crimes unit. He said on Wednesday, "I look forward to working with Jackie and her administration to take on dangerous criminals."
Lacey won stressing her experience as a prosecutor but also her 12 years of management in the D.A.'s office. She grew up in the Crenshaw District, where the Urban League applauds her election and hopes it sends a message.
"I think our young women, and certainly our African American women, have to know that you can succeed ... you don't have to come from wealth or privilege to begin with, that you can work your way through," said Chris Strudwick Turner of the Urban League.
Voters elected Lacey as they also told Sacramento to keep the death penalty. Voters also wanted to loosen the "three-strikes" law. Lacey says the D.A.'s office is already geared to review petitions for some 1,500 inmates who are imprisoned for non-serious, nonsexual and nonviolent offenses.
"We'll take it on a case-by-case basis. It depends on their prior record. It depends on how they've done in state prison," Lacey said.
Lacey says the biggest challenge is the state prison realignment program, which is releasing hundreds of offenders to the county in numbers that make them difficult to track. She says she will call for new laws that will reclassify some crimes as serious so the offenders do not get out early. To manage those who are released, she says the state must provide more funds for the county.
"The legislature and the governor shifted the responsibility, and so they need to shift the resources over also," Lacey said.
With 100 percent of the precincts reporting, Lacey took 55 percent of the vote, trumping Jackson's 45. She will replace Cooley, the outgoing three-term district attorney.
Lacey will be formally sworn in Dec. 3.