Former GOP prosecutor Kelly Ernby dies of COVID-19

Kelly Ernby, a political rookie who ran for an Orange County state Assembly seat two years ago as a Republican, died this week of COVID-19. In addition to political activism, she worked for 10 years as an O.C. deputy district attorney.

“The Orange County district attorney’s office is utterly heartbroken by the sudden and unexpected passing of Deputy Dist. Atty. Kelly Ernby,” Dist. Atty. Todd Spitzer said in a statement. “Kelly was an incredibly vibrant and passionate attorney who cared deeply about the work that we do as prosecutors — and deeply about the community we all fight so hard to protect.”

“I lost a dear friend to Covid complications,” Ben Chapman, chair of the Greater Costa Mesa Republicans, tweeted Monday. “You’ve been nothing but an inspiration to many of us here in Orange County.”

Condolences were pouring in online Monday for Ernby, who was a Huntington Beach resident and presumed 2022 candidate for Assembly.

“Thanks for always standing up for victims of crime and fighting the good fight balancing the scales of justice and for always making our communities and public safety a priority,” tweeted Patricia Wenskunas, founder of Crime Survivors Inc.

Ernby had 19 years of legal experience, including more than a decade as an Orange County deputy DA where she worked primarily on environmental law and consumer protection cases. She also served on the Orange County Environmental Law Enforcement Task Force, the southern section of the California Consumer Protection Council and the California Military Consumer Protection Task Force.

Before joining the DA’s office, she worked for a private Orange County firm handling civil business litigation for nine years.

“It was an absolute privilege to fight the good fight alongside Kelly,” Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer posted to social media Monday. “Her passion and her shining light will be forever missed.”




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