Orange County district attorney race: Todd Spitzer holds lead over Tony Rackauckas staff via KABC logo
Thursday, November 8, 2018
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In the contentious race for the Orange County District Attorney's Office, Todd Spitzer is holding a lead over Tony Rackauckas.

SANTA ANA, Calif. (KABC) -- In the contentious race for the Orange County District Attorney's Office, challenger Todd Spitzer is holding a lead over incumbent Tony Rackauckas.

As of late Wednesday afternoon, with 100 percent of precincts reporting, results showed Spitzer with 296,685 votes (53 percent) and Rackauckas with 264,213 votes (47 percent).

See live midterm election results for state and local races

"It's a great day for me personally but more importantly it's a great day for all the individuals who said that we have to have a change in our justice system," said Spitzer, a board of supervisors member and former prosecutor.

Spitzer had attacked Rackauckas on alleged mismanagement of the county agency he had overseen for 20 years. He hammered him on a controversy involving the illegal use of jailhouse informants among other cases. Spitzer called the incumbent "a bad lawyer" and a "terrible liar."

"It may sound crazy the day after an election, with results still being counted," Spitzer told ABC7, "but I just have to tell you: I'm already looking at the work that has to be done to keep Orange County safe."

Rackauckas had lashed back on what he termed Spitzer's temper and a lack of ethics and maturity, saying he's a "complete self-promoter (who) doesn't have any moral compass."

Rackauckas, 75, was first elected in 1998 and is currently serving his fifth term. His previous election and re-election bids had been relatively smooth -- running unopposed in two of those efforts and winning by wide margins in the others.

The incumbent district attorney declined ABC7's request for an interview Wednesday. He has not conceded the race.

"You've served our county well for 20 years," Spitzer said, referring to Rackauckas. "You did it with dignity and respect. You did the best job you could."