Our media partner, KOCE, is reporting that Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas has reversed course and decided to run for re-election in 2014.

This is an abrupt change of heart for Rackauckas who announced publicly after his win in the June primary that this would be his last term and that he would likely support Todd Spitzer, one of his top deputies, in the 2014 election.

But over the weekend, Rackauckas fired Spitzer — a former state assemblyman and Orange County supervisor — and now he apparently feels that he must protect the District Attorney’s Office from a Spitzer candidacy.

“I don’t want to see the office land in the hands of someone I don’t trust,” KOCE’s Real Orange is quoting Rackauckas as saying.

Spitzer, who claims that the firing was a purely political move by the District Attorney’s Office, said in 2006 that he was contemplating a run in 2010. But he made a deal with Rackauckas whereby he would join the DA’s office in 2008 and then run for the top job in 2014.

Orange County Business Journal Executive Editor Rick Reiff, who also hosts the KOCE political show Inside OC reported the news based on a phone conversation with Rackauckas today.

The announcement’s most immediate impact is to take some heat off of Rackauckas Chief of Staff Susan Kang Schroeder.

Because Rackauckas publicly elevated Schroeder to the chief of staff position in April, many have speculated that he was grooming her as a potential successor.

That set up Schroeder as a direct competitor to Spitzer, adding fuel to speculation that Spitzer was moved out to make room for Schroeder to get an appointment at some point in Rackauckas’ expected last term.


Correction: An earlier version of this report misstated Rick Reiff’s title. He is executive editor of the Orange County Business Journal.

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