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Pacheco Will Run for D.A. in Riverside

Ex-assemblyman, an assistant district attorney in charge of Riverside County's southwest office, will announce plan today.

August 17, 2004|Lance Pugmire | Times Staff Writer

Former Assemblyman Rod Pacheco on Monday confirmed his long-expected candidacy to succeed retiring Riverside County Dist. Atty. Grover Trask.

Pacheco, 46, an assistant district attorney set to be in charge of the southwest county office, will formally announce his campaign for district attorney today. Trask will remain in office until his term expires in 2006.

"I've been in the district attorney's office since 1984, with the exception of my time as a [three-term] state assemblyman, which, for me, was an extension of being a prosecutor," Pacheco said.

"So, in terms of a calling, I've always wanted to do this. This is the best district attorney's office in the state."

No other candidates have announced plans to run for the office, although Riverside County Superior Court Judge Paul Zellerbach has expressed an interest in the position.

On Monday, Zellerbach made no commitment, however, saying, "For the time being, I'm very happy doing what I'm doing."

Pacheco served in the Assembly from 1996 to 2002. A Republican representing the 64th District, which includes parts of Riverside, Temecula and Murrieta, Pacheco introduced legislation in 1998 that stiffened the sentences of those convicted of murdering or trying to murder a peace officer.

He said he considered running for the state Senate when term limits ended his Assembly tenure, but ultimately opted to "return home."

He and Trask almost immediately began discussing who would run for district attorney in March 2006.

Trask said: "There were no guarantees, only an acknowledgment of 'If this is what you want, this is what you need to get it.' People have to earn their way in this office. I'm looking for someone with competence and skill, with good integrity, judgment and credibility.

"It is my belief Rod has the capacity to be this county's next district attorney."

Trask, Riverside County Sheriff Bob Doyle and various county law enforcement organizations are expected to announce their endorsement of Pacheco during today's news conference. Pacheco, who is married and the father of four children, will begin his job as head of the Western Division office in Riverside next month, Trask said.

A major issue that will confront Trask's successor is trying to lighten the caseload for deputy district attorneys, which is among the state's highest.

Pacheco starts off with an immediate financial edge. The former state lawmaker has $300,000 left over from his Assembly campaigns that he will be able to use in his campaign for district attorney.

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