Lacy set to retain DA seat |

Lacy set to retain DA seat

PLACERVILLE — Based on Tuesday night’s preliminary numbers, incumbent Gary Lacy will continue his reign as El Dorado County district attorney for four more years.

With 117 of 157 precincts reporting, Lacy had 15,585 votes, or about 53 percent, compared to challenger Erik Schlueter’s 13,716 votes or close to 47 percent.

Lacy, dressed in a black sweater, tan pants and a can of Bud Light in his right hand, held his election party at a hotel in Placerville with family and friends.

“This has been much worse than 1994,” said Lacy, 48, comparing his first campaign to this one. “Trying to carry on the responsibilities of office in addition to running my campaign, which is a full-time job, and trying to make sure that I maintained my relationship with my kids…. It has been taxing. It has been difficult.”

When results first came on screen, Lacy’s body seemed to sigh relief before his 8-year-old son, Trevor, bounded over to him for a joyous hug.

Roughly two miles away, Schlueter, also 48, stood inside the El Dorado County Republican headquarters, seemingly shying away from the television.

“It’s not worth worrying about,” he said. “Whatever happens, happens. I can hold my head up high either way.”

Schlueter and wife Carole mentioned March’s primary when Lacy began with a lead but had it slip away. Both were hoping for a similar occurrence.

In March’s primary election, Schlueter received 16,774 votes compared to Lacy’s 16,309. Private practice attorney Dale Schafer provided the monkey-wrench of 5,971 votes, which forced yesterday’s runoff election.

It was a fierce battle ever since Schlueter joined the race in the summer of 2001. Schlueter nabbed Lacy’s endorsement from law enforcement in the area and made allegations that Lacy lazily ran the district attorney’s office.

In turn, Lacy took jabs at his opponent, saying Schlueter didn’t have the knowledge or experience for the job of top prosecutor that oversees a budget of nearly $5 million and 60 employees.

The two actually developed a friendship since the mid-1980s when they worked at the district attorney’s office in Stanislaus County.

After Lacy took off for the district attorney’s office at El Dorado County in 1987, Schlueter soon followed.

In 1994, during Lacy’s first successful campaign for the district attorney position, Schlueter worked the advertising portion of the campaign.

Schlueter became weary, then ostracized himself from Lacy after his friend supposedly ditched on his promise to become a district attorney involved in trials.

Throughout his campaign, Schlueter, who recently became certified to argue cases in front of the United States Supreme Court, often mentioned his commitment to do trials if he won election.

Based on the close race, voters didn’t seem to mind questions regarding possible inappropriate conduct when Schlueter provided his opinion to a group of Cameron Park women that their gifting circle is legal.

No charges against Schlueter have been filed. Schlueter, deputy district attorney for El Dorado County for 15 years, will take a weeklong trip to England on Thursday to assist his wife with family members.

“It’s one fire after the other,” Schlueter said Tuesday.

Back at Lacy’s party, the district attorney was asked if there was a rift in the district attorney’s office and whether it would be difficult to stitch back together.

Lacy calmly shook his head.

“We’ll have to cross that bridge when we get there,” he said.

William Ferchland may be reached via e-mail at

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