In L.A. sheriff’s race, Jim McDonnell has huge fundraising lead

L.A. County sheriff’s race
L.A. County sheriff candidates Jim McDonnell, left, and Paul Tanaka.
(Los Angeles Times)

Cementing his status as the frontrunner in the race for Los Angeles County sheriff, Long Beach Police Chief Jim McDonnell is far outpacing his rival, Paul Tanaka, in fundraising a month before the Nov. 4 election.

According to the latest campaign finance reports, McDonnell raised more than $416,000 from July 1 to Sept. 30. Tanaka, a retired undersheriff who finished a distant second to McDonnell in the June primary, raised a little less than $18,000 in the same period, including $5,000 from deputy sheriffs.

The new figures show the fundraising momentum has shifted away from Tanaka, who jumped out to an early lead in campaign contributions when he first announced he was running for sheriff in 2013. McDonnell did not enter the race until after Sheriff Lee Baca suddenly retired in January. As an experienced outsider, McDonnell attracted support at a time when the troubled department was reeling from criminal indictments and allegations of jailhouse assaults by deputies.

McDonnell’s campaign spent nearly $323,000 in July, August and September, compared with about $35,000 in expenditures for Tanaka. On Sept. 30, Tanaka had $37,000 in cash on hand, while McDonnell had $224,500.


Tanaka has struggled with the perception that he was responsible for the problems in the jails. His lack of campaign cash will make it more difficult for him to make up ground against McDonnell, who got over 49% of the vote in the primary against six opponents, compared with Tanaka’s 15%.

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