Stephan too much for Jones-Wright in district attorney race

Stephan too much for Jones-Wright in district attorney race
Summer Stephan was enthusiastically received by her supporters when she entered Golden Hall Tuesday night in San Diego. Photo by Shana Thompson

REGION — It wasn’t close.

Interim San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan will retain her position after trouncing challenger and Deputy Public Defender Geneviéve Jones-Wright.

Stephan won nearly 64 percent of the vote, while Jones-Wright tallied just 36 percent. Even with an estimated 220,000 ballots outstanding, Stephan is all but assured to become the next elected DA.

Stephan, a Republican, was appointed to the position last summer after Bonnie Dumanis retired, and finished second in her race for the District 4 seat on the San Diego County Board of Supervisors.

A message left with Stephan by The Coast News was not returned.

The race saw nearly $4 million pumped in, with Jones-Wright, a Democrat, receiving the bulk. However, it was revealed Democratic megadonor George Soros of New York donated $2.2 million to Jones-Wright.

Stephan, meanwhile, raised more than $500,00 and $835,000 from outside groups. However, when it was revealed Soros donated and backed Jones-Wright, Stephan used it to paint a picture of outsiders trying to influence a local election.

“San Diego is not for sale and our voices are going to be heard,” Stephan said at a press conference in May. “I’ve devoted my life to protecting victims of crime, to looking into their eyes and seeing pain, to restoring justice. This is not about criminal justice reform. This is about advancing the rights of criminals over the rights of victims.”

Stephan has spent 28 years in the DA’s office, but has not specified whether any changes are coming.

Still, Stephan did not come out unscathed as the longtime prosecutor was attacked for overlooking alleged accounts of police brutality and backing racial profiling from police.

Jones-Wright ran on a platform to reform the DA’s office, one where she would have expanded the definition of a victim to include those profiled and victims of police shootings.

Stephan, meanwhile, gobbled up dozens of Republican and law enforcement endorsements. She also touted her record, especially in trials, and the fact Jones-Wright never prosecuted a case.

In addition, Stephan has been in a management position since 2003 overseeing departments and budgets. The DA’s office has about 1,000 employees and a $190 million budget.

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