GARDENA — Former Undersheriff Paul Tanaka says he is still running for Los Angeles County sheriff.
Tanaka’s campaign website and Facebook page had no new posts after the June 3 election until Aug. 5, when he posted, “We are still in the race but giving our supporters an opportunity to spend the summer with their families. Thank you for understanding.”
Two local radio stations, KNX and KPCC, reported this past week that Tanaka’s campaign headquarters in Torrance has been vacated. (KABC-TV reported the same thing, but inexplicably showed footage of Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi’s campaign headquarters, which is still open.)
Because candidate Jim McDonnell, police chief of Long Beach, fell just short of 50 percent of the vote, he and Tanaka — who received about 15 percent — will be in the November runoff. Four of the other candidates have endorsed McDonnell. During the primary campaign, Tanaka’s rivals called on him to withdraw over allegations of wrongdoing against him and former Sheriff Lee Baca.
While McDonnell has continued to campaign, saying he is taking nothing for granted, Tanaka appears to have no campaign events scheduled.
Tanaka was elected to a third term as mayor of Gardena last year and continues to serve in that capacity.
If a candidate is 35 points behind the frontrunner (like Tanaka is behind McDonnell), it is unlikely they would take the summer off if they are truly planning to take the election seriously. In contrast to Tanaka, McDonnell did not take the summer off and he is far in the lead. HE IS TAKING THIS ELECTION SERIOUSLY. If anyone had the ability to take the summer off, it was McDonnell. If there was anyone who should have been campaigning all summer long, it’s Tanaka. Take this as a sign that he has conceded defeat and is going to save his money for his next Gardena race.