Endorsement of Glenn Jennings by prosecutor/public defender group heats up Nevada County district attorney race | TheUnion.com

Endorsement of Glenn Jennings by prosecutor/public defender group heats up Nevada County district attorney race

A split vote of the Deputy District Attorney/Deputy Public Defender Association has drawn a sharp line between supporters of District Attorney Cliff Newell and Glenn Jennings, the man who wants to replace him.

The attorney organization — composed of seven employees of the Nevada County District Attorney's Office, six from the Public Defender's Office, and one attorney with the county's Department of Social Services — recently voted 7-to-5 to endorse Jennings for the job, said James Morris, president of the association and a deputy district attorney.

One of the members abstained from the vote. Another wasn't present, Morris added.

The organization issued a brief statement last week in their endorsement of Jennings: "After inviting and receiving statements from both candidates, the District Attorney/Public Defender Association voted to endorse Glenn Jennings for District Attorney."

A letter to Jennings gave more reasons for the decision.

"Mr. Jennings, you earned the endorsement of the Association because Nevada County is in desperate need of your leadership and skills as an attorney," the letter states. "Over the course of your career you have proven your integrity, even risking your own career to stand up for what is right, as well as your skills as a trial attorney, having conducted well over 100 jury trials."

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Response

In response to the vote, five deputy district attorneys — Casey Ayer, Paige Carnahan, Ed Grubaugh, Jennifer Hotaling and Jesse Wilson — sent a signed letter of support to Newell.

"We as Deputy District Attorneys are part of a joint union with the members of the Public Defender's Office," it states. "The union voted to endorse Glenn Jennings for District Attorney. The majority of the votes to support Glenn Jennings came from the Public Defender's Office, and not the Deputy District Attorneys."

Deputy Public Defender Tamara Zuromskis, treasurer for the prosecutor/public defender organization, said the group's vote was a secret ballot. It's unknown who cast votes for Jennings and Newell.

Wilson, secretary of the group, said he would have preferred the joint group issue no endorsements.

"I don't want to criticize other people, but I can speak for myself — I think it's better to steer clear," Wilson said. "But to be clear, that's just my one opinion."

Republican party

The endorsement by the District Attorney/Public Defender Association comes almost three months after Jennings formally announced his run for office.

Before that announcement, the Nevada County Republican Party in mid-January endorsed Newell, who said he's registered as no party preference. The entry into the race of Jennings, who elections officials say is a registered Republican, led the local Republicans to withdraw their initial endorsement, per their bylaws, said Bob Hren, chairman of the local party.

Republicans on April 11 held on a vote about an endorsement in the race. They opted against any endorsement. Hren declined comment when asked about the vote.

The campaign for district attorney is the most contentious Neavda County race, as Jennings has accused the District Attorney and Sheriff's offices of corruption, pointing to what he calls flaws in the writing of certain search warrants.

To contact Staff Writer Alan Riquelmy, email ariquelmy@theunion.com or call 530-477-4239.