Greg Diamond–a ranking member of the Orange County Democratic Party, a progressive activist as well as a civil lawyer trained at Columbia University–announced this week that he plans to challenge Tony Rackauckas' Republican campaign for a fifth term as district attorney.
You may recall we've had our spats with Diamond in the past, but there's good reason to applaud his move: It's embarrassing that in a conservative-tilting county with a population larger than about 20 U.S. states, voters wouldn't otherwise have a ballot choice.
Anti-Rackauckas citizens had long hoped that Todd Spitzer would run, but he's sitting on the Board of Supervisors and made behind-the-scene promises to fellow Republicans that he won't challenge the incumbent.
In making his announcement, Diamond explained his motivation: "I can't stand that no one is running against Tony Rackauckas–so I'll do it."
He added, "I desperately want to vote against [Rackauckas] myself, but that requires another name be on the ballot. Someone needs to make the case for better government. I'm qualified, and I'm humble enough not to take on a high-profile murder/manslaughter trial [the Kelly Thomas case] myself when I'm supervising an office full of highly qualified deputy DAs are available to do it."
Diamond–who is married with five stepchildren–is seeking campaign contributions to help him pay the $30,000 needed to get named on the ballot and says he requires the funds by March 7.
Rackauckas, 71, hasn't faced a challenge since 2002 and recently enjoyed a unanimous endorsement by members of the Orange County Republican Party even though he attempted in 2012 to aid the campaign of liberal Democrat Larry Agran in Irvine.
I've previously described the DA's public speaking style as "swinging wildly between wooden and stiff."
A more feisty Diamond–who specializes in employment law, regularly writes for Orange Juice Blog, aligns himself with Occupy Wall Street causes and served as co-chair of Jerry Brown's 2010 campaign for governor in OC–is among those who see the DA's administration as tainted.
"Win or lose, I'll make an aggressive case against corruption–that alone will help to shake things up in OC," wrote Diamond, who unsuccessfully attempted to defeat state Senator Bob Huff in the last election. "I'm eager to begin."
This week, Rackauckas–a former homicide prosecutor and county judge who says he enjoys strong support throughout the county–reported raising more than $419,000 during a Balboa Bay Club party for his re-election effort.
You can't be surprised that the incumbent has endorsements from fellow Republicans like Dana Rohrabacher, Shawn Nelson, Janet Nguyen, Pat Bates and Scott Baugh.
What's interesting is that Rackauckas' campaign issued a press release after Diamond's announcement and declared they also have secured endorsements from prominent Orange County Democrats like Lou Correa, Frank Barbaro and Tom Daly.
Wayne Johnson, the DA's campaign consultant in Sacramento, declared, "I can say with certainty that Rackauckas couldn't be in a stronger position as he approaches his re-election."