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Can Independent D.A. Schubert Prevail in California AG Primary?

On paper, Anne Marie Schubert could be a Democrat. An openly gay mother of two from a left-of-center state, she describes herself as socially liberal on abortion and women’s rights. As the tough-on-crime district attorney of Sacramento County, Schubert could also be a Republican — and she was, until 2018. Now, she’s neither, reports Yahoo News. Schubert hopes her rejection of party labels will help her in Tuesday’s primary for California attorney general, the most contested race in an otherwise sleepy election where Gov. Gavin Newsom is expected to sail to an easy victory. Schubert, known for prosecuting the “Golden State Killer,” is charting an unconventional path for attorney general. She’s an independent, appearing on the ballot as “NPP,” no party preference. Schubert is running against incumbent Rob Bonta — a Newsom-appointed Democrat who championed criminal justice reforms in the state Assembly — and two Republicans.

After outraising Bonta’s other challengers, and running with an array of law-enforcement backers, Schubert is widely considered the favorite for second place. In California’s primary, the top two finishers, regardless of their partisan affiliations, advance to the general election. “At some point, California is going to elect an independent, and I feel like the time is now,” said Schubert, 58. The four-way race for attorney general comes amid heightened anxiety about crime and homelessness, and raging debate over criminal justice reforms.

This climate is seen as good an opening as any for a non-Democrat to win statewide. That hasn’t happened since 2006, when Californians reelected movie star and GOP moderate Arnold Schwarzenegger. California Republicans have been in a slump ever since. Last year, conservatives angered by COVID-19 protocols promoted a recall of Newsom, which voters overwhelmingly rejected.


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A daily report co-sponsored by Arizona State University, Criminal Justice Journalists, and the National Criminal Justice Association

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