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Long Beach Police Chief Jim McDonnell enters race for L.A. County sheriff

Long Beach Police Chief Jim McDonnell enters race for L.A. County sheriff
Long Beach Police Chief Jim McDonnell announced he will enter the race for Los Angeles County sheriff. (Michael Robinson Chavez / Los Angeles Times)

Long Beach Police Chief Jim McDonnell on Monday said he was entering the race for Los Angeles County sheriff, less than a week after Lee Baca's surprise announcement that he was stepping down.

McDonnell, a former Los Angeles Police Department official, has been seen as a formidable candidate to lead the nation's largests sheriff's department, which has been mired in scandals for the last few years.

McDonnell had considered a run against Baca last year.

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Baca was facing a tough fight for a fifth term as sheriff amid scandals in the department. He already faced challenges from his former top aide, Paul Tanaka, and retired Cmdr. Bob Olmsted. Baca had ousted Tanaka last year amid allegations of brutality by deputies in the jails and other problems.

One of Baca's top deputies, Assistant Sheriff Todd Rogers, entered the race the day Baca pulled out.

"There has been catastrophic failure of leadership in the Sheriff's Department," he said at the time.

Another assistant sheriff, Jim Hellmold, said he has not decided whether to run, adding that he doesn't like to campaign.

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