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Prosecutors Schmidt In Oregon, Willis in Georgia Face Primary Vote

On Tuesday, the voters of Portland, Ore.'s Multnomah County could replace their incumbent district attorney, Mike Schmidt, with a man who was in the GOP until after Donald Trump became president.

“What I hear when I’m knocking on doors, is ‘Hey, I consider myself very liberal but this is out of step — we’re not getting served well,’” said Nathan Vasquez, a longtime prosecutor in the county and now unaffiliated voter who’s challenging his boss, adding: “People definitely want public safety. It doesn’t mean people are wholly abandoning the idea of criminal justice reform. They just want it delivered in a pragmatic, practical way.”

Should Vasquez prevail, it would represent more than the rejection of a progressive prosecutor. It would be the culmination of simmering local frustration with crime, homelessness and drug abuse and a resounding correction to the shift left on criminal justice that took place in Portland and in so many cities in 2020, Politico reports.

It would also get the attention of Democratic lawmakers everywhere. They’ve mostly found success by elevating abortion and MAGA, but their vulnerabilities on quality-of-life issues remain and could prove particularly acute with the broader presidential electorate this fall.

While San Francisco’s recall of District Attorney Chesa Boudin drew national attention two years ago, the prosecutor battles have raged on, overshadowed by the presidential race but offering a more revealing measure of how curdled many voters have become post-pandemic.

In Chicago, home to the nation's second-largest DA’s office, progressive Kim Foxx did not run again and was replaced in March by a former judge who pledged to prosecute retail theft as a felony and said Foxx did “not believe in accountability.” In Los Angeles, George Gascon, who’s called himself the “godfather of progressive prosecutors,” is facing a challenge this November from a former Republican, who’s decrying “a culture of lawlessness” and sounds a lot like a subscriber to the broken windows theory of law enforcement.

In Portland, Schmidt's defeat would represent a full circle moment from 2020, when Portland exploded and Trump officials delighted in the images of Proud Boys and Antifa squaring off.

Meanwhile, in Atlanta's Fulton County, District Attorney Fani Willis is running for re-election nearly two months since a judge ruled that she could continue prosecuting an election interference case against Donald Trump and others if Nathan Wade, the special prosecutor she’d appointed and had a romantic relationship with, resigned.

The Georgia Court of Appeals has agreed to re view an appeal from Trump and several of his co-defendants seeking to overturn the order keeping Willis on the case. The review makes it increasingly unlikely the case will go to trial before the November election, the Washington Post reports.

In Georgia’s Democratic primary on Tuesday, Willis will face local attorney Christian Wise Smith, who has said Willis “rightfully” brought charges against Trump and his allies but has suggested her focus on that case has left Fulton County residents “vulnerable” and other cases “neglected.”

The heaviest attacks are likely to come ahead of the general election, when Willis, if she wins the Democratic nomination in Tuesday’s primary, is expected to face Courtney Kramer, a Republican lawyer who interned in the Trump White House and was involved in Trump’s efforts to reverse his 2020 loss in Georgia.

It is a long-shot campaign in heavily Democratic Fulton County but one that could greatly amplify criticism of the district attorney and the Trump case.

Willis has strongly denied any wrongdoing and has insisted she’s not sorry or embarrassed about her relationship with Wade, which both have insisted had no impact on the election case.

Willis received a phone call on Christmas last year from the South Fulton police chief saying there had been a 911 call reporting that a woman had been shot and killed at her home.

Willis had moved out more than a year earlier because of ongoing threats, but her daughters sometimes visited the house — and she worried one of them had been murdered. Police quickly discovered it was a hoax swatting call — but the incident left Willis shaken.


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