San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón Resigns

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San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón resigned on Thursday, saying he will step down later in October to explore a run for Los Angeles district attorney.

Gascón's surprise announcement comes one month before San Francisco voters choose a new district attorney, and gives Mayor London Breed the opportunity to appoint someone ahead of the Nov. 5 election.

Breed, in a written statement, suggested she will do just that.

"People depend on the District Attorney to keep our residents and communities safe each and every day," she said. "We can't afford to have an absence of leadership in the DA's Office because victims of crime need to be represented and people who commit crimes in our city need to be held accountable.”

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Breed has already endorsed former S.F. prosecutor Suzy Loftus in the district attorney's race. Loftus, a lawyer for the San Francisco Sheriff's Department, is running against Deputy Public Defender Chesa Boudin, Alameda County prosecutor Nancy Tung and Deputy State Attorney General Leif Dautch.

Gascón announced last October that he wouldn't seek another term, citing the ailing health of his mother, who lives in L.A. He has been toying with a run in his native Los Angeles for months, and wrote in an email to supporters today that it's "time for me to move on to a new opportunity."

"Moments ago, I tendered my resignation to the Mayor, effective Friday, October 18 at 6 PM," he wrote. "At that time, Cristine Soto DeBerry will temporarily assume my duties until a new District Attorney is elected by the voters or appointed by the Mayor."

Gascon went on to write that he and his  wife will return to L.A. "to rejoin our family and explore a run for District Attorney. Making our communities safer and more equitable remains my life’s work, and I’m simply not ready to slow down and put public service behind me."