Superior Court Judge Paul Zellerbach is on the edge of pulling off a huge upset as he leads Rod Pacheco in the race for Riverside County District Attorney.
With 90 percent of the precincts counted, the former prosecutor leads the one-term incumbent 53 percent (55,099 votes) to 46 percent (48,782 votes), according to the latest figures from the Riverside County Registrar of Voters.
The results were posted at 4:56 a.m.
Registrar officials blamed the use of paper ballots for the late release of election results.
Pacheco, 52, had been seen as the odds-on favorite in the D.A.’s race, although Zellerbach has received the endorsement of the county’s largest newspaper, The Press-Enterprise. The one-term incumbent has pointed to the county’s 26 percent drop in violent crime since 2007, the district attorney’s office’s 93 percent conviction rate and three gang injunction lawsuits as success stories.
But Zellerbach, 57, has alleged that under Pacheco’s leadership, morale has sunk in the office and the budget has grown unjustifiably.
The judge, who has taken a leave of absence from the bench to campaign, said a May 2009 grand jury report indicating a