LOCAL L.A. Now

Tanaka leads in total sheriff's fundraising

Of the seven candidates in the race to be Los Angeles County’s sheriff, former Undersheriff Paul Tanaka has raised the most money so far, according to campaign fundraising records.

Tanaka has raised roughly $648,000 so far, records show, almost twice as much as his nearest competitor.

While Tanaka is leading the field, many of the race’s higher-profile candidates only entered the race in January and have had less time to raise money. During the most recent period, Tanaka came in third in fundraising.

During that period, which started in January when the current field of candidates was set, Assistant Sheriff Jim Hellmold led the field, bringing in over $330,676 in total contributions. His records show he has more than $205,000 in cash on hand, with less than $11,200 in outstanding debt.

Hellmold was one of the two internal candidates former Sheriff Lee Baca tapped to replace him.

Long Beach Police Chief Jim McDonnell came in second during the most recent period, raising more than $307,000. He’s got over $132,500 in cash left, but roughly $277,000 in outstanding debt.

His donor list included high-profile backers such as current and former district attorneys Jackie Lacey and Steve Cooley.

Tanaka raised just over $266,885 during this period, which ended in mid-March. He has more than $186,440 in cash on hand, but also more than $91,000 in debt.

Records show he accepted contributions from several sheriff’s officials who left the department under a cloud, including a captain blamed for problems with jail abuse, a charity director ousted because of her ties with pot dispensaries and a captain who prosecutors said funneled secret information to an alleged Compton drug trafficker.

A county commission created after the sheriff’s jail abuse scandal blamed Tanaka, and Baca, for abuse in the county lockups -- though Tanaka has minimized the role he played. Tanaka and his supporters have described him as an experienced manager with the inside knowledge needed to reform the department. 

Assistant Sheriff Todd Rogers has raised more than $121,614 since entering the race in January, after Baca stepped down. His campaign has just over $16,000 in cash on hand and $25,000 in debt. Rogers was the other internal candidate Baca tapped to replace him.

Retired sheriff’s commander Bob Olmsted showed little progress with his fundraising, coming in at just under $46,000 in contributions during the most recent period, setting his total fundraising at roughly $290,000. He’s got just about $34,000 in cash on hand but more than $110,000 in outstanding debt.

Before retiring, Olmsted oversaw the department's most troubled jails. He has described himself as a whistle-blower who tried to alert top brass, the media and the FBI to misconduct within the department.

LAPD Det. Lou Vince reported raising $12,709. Combined with what he raised last year, his total is now about $29,160. He downplayed the role of money, saying his campaign is “people-powered.” 

The seventh candidate, retired sheriff’s Lt. Patrick Gomez, did not respond to requests for his filings. He has twice run for sheriff unsuccessfully.

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Twitter: RobertFaturechi

robert.faturechi@latimes.com

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