Races To Watch:
LA County Sheriff
With 7 candidates on the ballot and no incumbent, a runoff between the top 2 candidates is a virtual guarantee. Long Beach Police Chief Jim McDonnell is hotly tipped to be in the runoff; he's the only viable outsider and the only candidate with the kind of leadership experience the Sheriff's Dept. needs. McDonnell has the seep of media, law enforcement and civic leader endorsements, and an expertly managed campaign. Expect McDonnell to poll higher than the rest of the field.
But who will join McDonnell in the November runoff? Either of former undersheriff Paul Tanaka and current Assistant Sheriff James Hellmold are likely to face McDonnell in the runoff based on their fundraising. Tanaka has raised the most money overall having campaigned the longest, but in the last reporting period McDonnell raised twice as much as Tanaka. But Tanaka desperately needs every dime he raised just to address his negatives; as former number two to Sheriff Baca, Tanaka is tainted with failed leadership and accusations of involvement in the many scandals that caused Sheriff Baca to withdraw from the race.
Hellmold ranks third in fundraising, thanks to
Former Sheriff's Commander Bob Olmsted was hotly tipped to provide a serious challenge in this race, but support for his campaign has virtually dried up since McDonnell entered the race and presented voters with stronger candidate. Expect Olmsted to be the best of the rest.
LA County Assessor
Head Deputy District Attorney John Morris is the only outsider in a field of 12 candidates, and will likely poll high enough to feature in an almost certain runoff having gained all the major media endorsements. His likely challenger is Jeffrey Prang, a West Hollywood Councilmember and experienced political aide. Prang, however, has baggage. He was the choice of disgraced County Assessor John Noguez and also held a questionable "field deputy" position under Sheriff Baca.
Deputy District Attorneys Amy Carter (Office No. 22), Andrew Cooper (Office No. 157), Donna Hollingsworth Armstrong (Office No. 138) and Stacy Weise (Office No. 107) have all run strong campaigns and have valuable endorsements. They will likely win their races.
Of the remaining DDA candidates:
Office No. 48: Carol Rose has two things in her favor; her ballot title "Child Molestation Prosecutor," and her opponent Charles Calderon of the Calderon family. Yes, that Calderon family.
Office No. 54: Shannon Knight will be hoping her ballot title, "Gang Homicide Prosecutor," outshines that of Commissioner Debra Losnick.
Office No. 61: Dayan Mathai, another "Gang Homicide Prosecutor," is in a three-way race with Commissioner Jacqueline Lewis and a phony; B. Otis Felder. An outright win for of any in this race is unlikely, so all eyes will be on this race to see who faces Mathai in the runoff.
Office No. 76: Alison Matsumoto Estrada, running as "Government Corruption Prosecutor," should be an easy win. She's got the LA Times endorsement as well as those of former DA Steve Cooley and current DA Jackie Lacey. But she faces part-time "Criminal Prosecutor" Helen Kim who, despite being utterly unqualified for anything other than her part-time duties, has over $800k of special interest money on hand to buy a seat on the bench.
Office No. 87: Steven Schriener, running as "Gang Homicide Prosecutor," is in a three way race with Andrew Stein, and accomplished criminal defense attorney running as "Gang Homicide Attorney," and totally unfit and unqualified Deputy City Attorney Tom Griego, who runs as a "Criminal Gang Prosecutor." The ballot titles should present uninformed voters with quite a challenge. It's anyone's guess who will be in the runoff.
Office No. 97: Teresa Magno, running as "Gang Murder Prosecutor" is pitted against Songhai "Sunny" Armstead, a Deputy City Attorney who believes African American voters should vote for her because of her race. It's a disgustingly ugly campaign strategy for anyone, let alone one who aspires to be a judge. Watch this race to see how the race card plays.
Office No. 107: Joan Chrostek, running as "Major Narcotics Prosecutor," perhaps a questionable ballot title given her civil forfeiture duties, is running against Emma Castro, a near-retirement age Commissioner. This race will test the relative strengths of ballot designations, as neither candidate has been noticeably active with their campaigns.
Office No. 117: Carol Najera is challenging incumbent Superior Court Judge James B. Pierce to teach him a lesson about being discourteous. A brave challenge, but one that rarely succeeds.
Now get out and vote!