Barbara LaWall has defeated her Democratic challenger in the heated primary race for Pima County attorney.

Joel Feinman conceded in a news release early Wednesday morning, thanking his supporters and reiterating his dedication to reforming the justice system.

"After a long hard fight, it is evident the election did not go the way we had hoped,” said Feinman. “This doesn’t mean we will lose heart. Mass incarceration is still a problem in our community, and the Pima County justice system still needs reform to better serve us all."

LaWall came out ahead as early election results rolled in Tuesday night, maintaining a steady lead.

During his campaign, Feinman said that LaWall puts too many nonviolent offenders in jail, as opposed to offering diversionary programs. He also has implied that she's soft on crime, choosing to prosecute drug offenders over cases such as sexual assault.

LaWall defended her record, arguing that data supports that the right people are going to prison, and that more than 90 percent of the people in Arizona prisons are violent or repeat offenders.

LaWall will face Green Party candidate Cyndi Tuell in the Nov. 8 general election.

Contact reporter Caitlin Schmidt at cschmidt@tucson.com or 573-4191