Bonta vs. Schubert: Cheat Sheet for California’s 2022 Attorney General’s Race

The battle to become California’s attorney general is perhaps the most contested race in the June 7 primary ballot.

The race pits Democratic incumbent Rob Bonta against an independent, Sacramento Dist. Atti. Anne Marie Schubert, and two Republicans, former Assistant US Atty. General Nathan Hochman and Los Angeles attorney Eric Early – and comes amid a debate over rising crime and the impact of decades of criminal justice reform in California.

Here is an overview of the candidates.

BONTA: Last year, Governor Gavin Newsom tapped Bonta to replace Xavier Becerra as attorney general after Becerra was named U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services. Prior to his appointment, Bonta spent eight years in the state Assembly and focused on efforts to change the criminal justice system to favor rehabilitation over lengthy incarceration.

SCHUBERT: A career prosecutor who dropped his GOP registration in 2018, Schubert is running as a “no party preference” candidate. Schubert, who is openly gay, said she is the candidate for Californians who are “fed up with politics” and hopes voters consider her decades of experience in the fight against child abuse and sexual assault and her 2019 pursuit of the Golden State Killer as proof that she’s right about the job.

HOCHMAN: With a resume that includes overseeing the US Department of Justice’s tax division and serving as an assistant US attorney, Hochman said he’s led a centrist campaign to restore political balance in Sacramento. He promised to find common ground between the tough-on-crime policies of decades past and current laws championed by a more progressive criminal justice reform movement.

EARLY: The most conservative of the candidates, Early wants to investigate school closures during the COVID-19 pandemic and has said he will do everything he can as attorney general to ‘outlaw’ critical race theory in California schools. He is opposed to abortion and is a proud supporter of former President Trump.

Times columnist George Skelton noted that the stakes are high. As Skelton said:

The Attorney General is powerful. The office is responsible for ensuring that our laws are enforced – criminal and civil. He can appeal court decisions and sue. The last attorney general, Xavier Becerra, sued President Trump more than 100 times. The Attorney General is also a potential stepping stone to higher positions. Earl Warren, Pat Brown, George Deukmejian, and Jerry Brown used the office as a stepping stone to becoming governor. From there, Warren became Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court. Kamala Harris won a U.S. Senate seat as attorney general and later became vice president.

Here’s a guide to the race taken from the pages of the Los Angeles Times and other sources.

Profile of Anne Marie Schubert
(Sacramento Bee)

Q&A: Anne Marie Schubert
(San Diego Union Tribune)

Q&A: Rob Bonta
(San Diego Union-Tribune)

Schubert campaign website
(Schubert Campaign)

Bonta campaign website
(Bonta Campaign)

Eric Early talks about his campaign.

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