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McDonnell, Tanaka Take LA County Sheriff’s Campaign to November

Former Undersheriff Paul Tanaka celebrates campaign night with his wife in Gardena. Daniel Beckham Photo

Former Undersheriff Paul Tanaka celebrates campaign night with his wife in Gardena. Daniel E. Beckham Photo

By Brian Hews

The campaign to become the next Sheriff of Los Angeles County appears to be headed to a November 4th General Election battle between the top two finishers Long Beach Police Chief Jim McDonnell and former Undersheriff Paul Tanaka.

With thousands of late absentee ballots still to be counted, McDonnell had a commanding lead over the second place Tanaka but failed to garner a 50% plus one vote majority needed to avoid a Fall election.

Tanaka gave an exclusive, in-depth election night interview with Hews Media Group-Community Newspaper at a well-known Gardena restaurant right after ballots began to be tallied.

“We are confident that our message got out to the voters. Our main goal was to get into the runoff election and begin taking our message of change directly to the voters,” Tanaka said.

Hundreds of campaign volunteers, many who are current officers with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, joined Tanaka, who is also the mayor of Gardena.

“We have a great organization with thousands of great dedicated working men and women who have dedicated their lives to protecting all of the residents of LA County,” said Tanaka.

McDonnell celebrated his election night with friends, supporters, and family at an upscale hotel ballroom in Downtown Los Angeles.  McDonnell was surrounded by high profile political heavy weights including former Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley and Supervisor Don Knabe.

If McDonnell is elected in November, he will be the first candidate elected who is from outside the ranks of the Sheriff’s Department in more than 100 years, his campaign handlers touted.