D.A. Race a Close Call

Early Results Favor Challenger

San Joaquin County District Attorney Tori Verber Salazar had a politically strong final week in the run up to Tuesday’s Primary Election. But she still trailed her challenger, Assistant District Attorney Ron Freitas, by more than 1,600 votes in the overnight results posted by the registrar of voters.

With just 5.3% of precincts reporting, Freitas held a 54.7 to 45.3 percent lead with 9,526 votes to Salazar’s 7,885. For updated election results for all races, click https://www.livevoterturnout.com/ENR/sanjoaquincaenr/13/en/Index_13.html. Freitas held a lead of fewer than 200 votes when the registrar’s office posted its first set of results Tuesday night.

“We are very proud of the positive campaign we ran, and all our supporters,” Freitas said late Tuesday night. “We look forward to the final tally of all the votes.”

Ron Freitas

Freitas holds the lead despite a week that saw Salazar gain much credit for participating in a multiagency drug and gang sweep that netted nearly 90 arrests and numerous illegal firearms.

Plus, Freitas’ reputation as a prosecutor took a hit a little more than a week ago. On May 28, the Stockton chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) released a document on its website that exposed the 13-year-old opinion of a now-deceased federal magistrate that Freitas improperly excluded a Black male juror during a 2000 trial based on his race.

Salazar told Stocktonia News Service that she knew nothing of the document or the ruling until one day before its public release.

Tori Verber Salazar

Freitas has painted Salazar as soft on crime since he announced his candidacy almost one year ago. He has likened Salazar’s approach to prosecuting crime in San Joaquin County to that of District Attorney Chesa Boudin of San Francisco. Boudin has all but stopped prosecuting certain crimes, refused to charge repeat felons with their third strike and prevented his lieutenants from adding gun or gang enhancements to cases, which can net extra time behind bars.

San Francisco voters recalled Boudin on Tuesday. With all precincts reporting in San Francisco, he lost his campaign to remain district attorney by nearly 25,000 votes.

Salazar, who sought a third term for the office she first won in 2014, has said that Freitas has mischaracterized her last four years. Previously, she told SNS that she has never interfered with any prosecutor’s decision on which crimes to pursue and which to leave alone.  She did not return a call for comment late Tuesday.

This story was updated at 5:15 a.m. June 8.

Rick Brewer is president of the SNS Board of Directors

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