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First wide-open race for D.A. since -- when? [Coffeebreak Quiz]

January 17, 2012 | 11:07 am

 At least six candidates are running for Los Angeles County district attorney in the June 5 primary to succedd retiring incumbent Steve Cooley

At least eight candidates, are running for Los Angeles County district attorney in the June 5 primary. Incumbent Steve Cooley is retiring and leaving an open seat, something that hasn't occurred in Los Angeles since -- well, since when?

That's today's Coffeebreak Quiz. When was the last time there was an open seat here for district attorney? In other words, no incumbent running to defend his (and they've all been men) job. Hint: It's been a really long time. Second hint: When we say "incumbent running to defend his job," we mean actively raising money, campaigning and having his name on the ballot -- but not necessarily keeping his campaign going up until election day.

The next D.A. will have a lot to deal with. He or she will need to not just make certain that felons are locked up, but may have to grapple as well with possible ballot measures dealing with the "three-strikes" law, the death penalty, medical marijuana, criminal-justice realignment and perhaps more. Look for a lot more from the Times editorial page on the race for district attorney.

And look in this space, at this time tomorrow, for the answer to the Coffeebreak Quiz.

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-- Robert Greene

Photo: Steve Cooley discusses his plans after winning his first race for Los Angeles County district attorney in 2000. Credit: Rick Meyer / Los Angeles Times

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