While Nancy O'Malley, unopposed, wins her job as Alameda County's DA tonight, her brother is behind in early returns in his race to become Contra Costa's top cop.
Just as his sister was Tom Orloff's chosen successor, Dan O'Malley is retiring DA Bob Kochly's choice.
But unlike his sister, O'Malley -- a former judge, son of a past Contra Costa district attorney, and husband of the superior court's presiding judge -- has been fighting a bitter battle.
With less than a fifth of precincts reporting, O'Malley is behind 34 percent to fellow DA Mark Peterson's
The Contra Costa Times and East Bay Express have detailed the divide in the DA's office between supporters of O'Malley and supporters of Peterson, which erupted in a fistfight between two prosecutors in March.
And Peterson at one point in the race accused O'Malley of improperly soliciting campaign donations from his underlings, but the complaint ultimately fizzled. The office is also caught up in the case of former senior Deputy DA Michael Gressett, who was indicted last October on charges of raping and sodomizing a deputy DA.
A lot is riding on the election tonight for the embattled DA's office, notes the Times in a recent story: "Inside, there is hope that June 8 will mark as much an exorcism as an election."
But if the outcome tonight forces a runoff between O'Malley and Peterson (the third candidate, Elle Falahat, had about 15 percent of the votes in early returns), more campaign shenanigans could be in store for the general election.