Rafu Staff and Wire Reports
Long Beach Police Chief Jim McDonnell won the race for Los Angeles County sheriff on Tuesday by a 3-to-1 margin against former Undersheriff Paul Tanaka.
As of Friday, the count was 743,406 votes (75.06 percent) for McDonnell, 247,043 (24.94 percent) for Tanaka.
In the June primary, McDonnell was first with 49 percent of the vote. A majority of the vote would have allowed him to win outright. Tanaka was second with 15 percent, finishing ahead of five other candidates. Four of those candidates endorsed McDonnell and one endorsed Tanaka.
For months after the primary, Tanaka, who is also mayor of Gardena, did not actively campaign, leading some to believe he had dropped out. In the last few months, he resumed making public appearances and posting messages and videos online. However, he declined to debate McDonnell.
Tanaka retired from the Sheriff’s Department in 2013 after serving more than 30 years. He had been accused by a civilian review commission of promoting a culture in which sheriff’s deputies went undisciplined for violence against jail inmates.
Tanaka said he had never condoned excessive force and maintained that he was scapegoated by those who did not want to see him succeed his former boss, Sheriff Lee Baca, who resigned earlier this year. While testifying in the federal trial of another deputy, however, Tanaka acknowledged that he was under investigation as part of a continuing federal probe into the county jails.
A Tanaka campaign ad stated that he had the courage “to do what cops do best — put criminals behind bars and make your community safer; to keep the constitutional rights of the citizens at the forefront; to make the hard decisions and tough choices necessary to get the LASD back on track.”
From July 1 to Oct. 18, McDonnell raised $620,000 in campaign donations, compared to $27,000 for Tanaka’s campaign.
“A long campaign journey is now finally and thankfully over,” McDonnell said on election night with his family and District Attorney Jackie Lacey by his side.
McDonnell, a 29-year LAPD veteran, will succeed Interim Sheriff John Scott, who endorsed McDonnell shortly before the general election.
“Thank you to all of our supporters for standing with me throughout this campaign — we came this far because of you,” Tanaka said in a statement. “Congratulations to Sheriff Jim McDonnell. I wish him and the dedicated men and women of the Sheriff’s Department all the best as they continue their efforts to fight crime and make our communities safer.”