Criticized for being outspoken and abrasive, Madera County District Attorney David Linn is unapologetic about his management style and isn't backing down from the fight to win re-election.
Linn, who overwhelmingly defeated an embattled incumbent four years ago, is facing some tough competition from two prosecutors. And the campaign has, so far, been less than cordial.
Both challengers have blasted Linn for being a weak leader, unprofessional and lacking the legal skills to be an effective prosecutor.
Premium content for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
They cite his censure by the Board of Supervisors in November as proof that his personality is in conflict with managing the office.
The report, prepared by a Fresno attorney at the board's request, accused him of workplace harassment, discrimination, and abuse. Linn has denied the charges and claims the board is retaliating against him for opening a corruption investigation against them. The investigation has been turned over to the Attorney General's office and is ongoing.
Hornick, who works with Linn, said he's heard his boss say much of what he is accused of saying to employees in the office.
"That is part of the problem with Mr. Linn, because he is so political, it prevents our office to do what we are able to do," Hornick said. "He is not the man for the job."
Hornick said he was encouraged to run for the office by his co-workers who say there is a void in leadership. "It was either try and fix the problem or leave and I have chosen to try and fix it," Hornick said.
Hornick served in the Army as a second lieutenant in the Transportation Corps.
He served as a captain in the Army Reserve and he later served in the Judge Advocate General's Corps.
Moreno worked for Linn for about six months in 2015 before joining the Fresno County District Attorney's Office. He says she left because she was angry that he didn't promote her. She says she couldn't stand his leadership style.
"It was obvious he didn't know how to be a prosecutor and he was not interested in learning how to be one," she said. "I left because it was obvious he did not want me there."
Moreno, who lives in Madera Ranchos, chose to run against Linn because she cares about keeping Madera County safe. But that could be threatened without a good leader in the District Attorney's Office.
"I have been a prosecutor most of my adult life and I care very deeply about keeping my community safe," she said.
Before becoming a lawyer, Moreno was a police officer in Los Angeles and Desert Storm Army veteran.
Moreno has earned the endorsements of several key law enforcement officials, including Madera County Sheriff Jay Varney and the Madera County Deputy Sheriff's Association. Hornick has been endorsed by the Madera Police Officers Association and Madera County Prosecutors Association.
Moreno said it is telling that Linn's opponents have received the endorsements of several major law enforcement agencies in Madera County.
"I think it says quite a bit, considering that one of the most important relationships in law enforcement is between the district attorney and the police," she said.
Linn, a Vietnam veteran, responds to his critics with one of his favorite quotes from President Donald Trump. "There is a great difference between political courage and political correctness," Linn said.
He admits to being boisterous at times "when being boisterous is required." And he has been known to kick a garbage can.
"But am I racist or sexist?" he said. "That is insanity."
He points to his family as proof. He said he has nephews who are African-American and nieces who are "Mexican-American."
"For anyone who has dealt with me on a professional basis, they know I treat everyone the same," Linn said. "That is a hallmark of my administration."
Linn said his detractors can say what they want, but his record speaks for itself. He said he has accomplished many of his goals including reopening the Bass Lake courthouse and allowing people in the foothills to fulfill their jury duty in the area. He also opened a District Attorney's Office in the mountain areas to better serve the community. The office is staffed by a full-time investigator and a half-time deputy district attorney.
The office also just notched its 11th major felony conviction in a row, Linn said.
Asked if the negative tone of the campaign has disrupted the running of the office, Linn admits that it has, but that he tries to stay focused.
"My job is to continue to function as what I believe is the best district attorney in the history of this county," he said.
Election day is June 5.