Anne Marie Schubert moved quickly to head off potential opposition Thursday when she announced that the two top law enforcement officers in the county have endorsed her campaign to become Sacramento's next district attorney.
The woman who currently holds the job, Jan Scully, who announced Monday that she will not seek re-election in 2014, gave Schubert one of her key endorsements. The other came from Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones.
Former Sheriff John McGinness also expressed his support for Schubert, a longtime deputy district attorney in Sacramento as well as Contra Costa and Solano counties.
"I feel very honored and humbled by the fact that I have incredible support from this county, from the top leaders in this county, and that says a lot for me and I think for this campaign," Schubert said in an interview.
Within a few hours of the announcement, Assistant Chief Deputy District Attorney Steve Grippi scratched his name off the candidates' list.
Grippi supervises the DA's homicide prosecutions, its gang squad, the TARGET Team that goes after recidivist gun crimes and the career criminal and auto theft units.
"I can tell you that I love what I do and that whatever skills I have developed over the years as a career prosecutor are probably much better suited to my current position than to the job of an elected district attorney," Grippi said in a written statement.
Prominent local defense lawyer Tom Johnson, a former prosecutor, declined to comment Thursday about Schubert's endorsements.
Schubert also has retained Dave Gilliard, a leading Republican strategist, as her political consultant. Gilliard is the husband of Sacramento Superior Court Judge Maryanne G. Gilliard, and he also ran last year's successful judicial campaign of Judge Tami R. Bogert.
"Obviously she's off to a very strong start with the support of the district attorney and the sheriff and former sheriff McGinness," Gilliard said of Schubert. "I think law enforcement is quickly coming together behind her candidacy, and that's going to make her a very formidable candidate."
Gilliard said he anticipates that Schubert will raise $1 million in her run that is aimed toward the June 2014 primary.
"Any candidate looking at this has to be prepared to raise a million dollars," Gilliard said.
Schubert said, "I wouldn't be in this race if I wasn't willing to win and do what I need to do to be the next district attorney of Sacramento."
A prosecutor for 23 years, Schubert heads up the office's Special Assault and Child Abuse units. A onetime fixture in the DA's cold-case unit, it was Schubert who responded to a book author and the family of UC Davis "sweethearts" murder victim John Riggins to submit items of evidence for DNA testing that identified Richard Hirschfield as the suspect in the killings that had gone unsolved for than two decades. Hirschfield has since been convicted in the 1980 killings. He is awaiting sentencing.
Schubert gained some political experience last year in taking the lead in the Sacramento DA's Office in the campaign to defeat the Proposition 34 initiative last year. The measure would have abolished the death penalty in California.
In a statement released by the Schubert campaign, Scully, who will complete her fifth term before stepping down at the end of 2014, described the candidate as "a tough, no-nonsense prosecutor who has dedicated her career to the safety of our citizens and security of our community."
Jones said in his statement that Schubert "will be a strong partner with law enforcement as we work together to make Sacramento County safe."