Rumors are circulating that Long Beach Police Chief Jim McDonnell has clinched the primary election, based a large number of votes yet to be verified.
Tuesday night's landslide electoral victory for McDonnell was historic; so strong was support for McDonnell that he effectively destroyed any hope the distant second place finisher Paul Tanaka had for a November runoff.
McDonnell polled 49.15% of votes counted, a mere 5,000 votes short of the necessary 50% plus one vote to win the election outright. Tanka polled a mere 14.74% a devastatingly low number for the former number two to Sheriff Baca and likely a reflection on his admission that he remains a 'subject' of a federal investigation into the abuse and corruption in the county jails, occurring on his watch.
We stress the words "votes counted" because the LA Times reports that there are some 150,000 uncounted votes still to be verified and found to be valid or otherwise. Those uncounted votes are a combination of postal ballots received late, postal ballots handed in at polling stations, and provisional ballots issued to voters whose name could not initially be found on electoral rolls - no hanging chads in this election.
Dean Logan, the LA County Registrar/Recorder, has until July 4, 2014 to verify just how many of those 150,000 votes are valid. However, rumors are rife a preliminary verification of these uncounted votes shows that McDonnell has in fact won the election, and the final result will become known before the July 4 deadline. The LA County Registrar/Recorder's website is to be regularly updated as the uncounted votes are verified, and will be keenly watched.
Regardless of whether or not McDonnell has won the primary, such is the strength of his lead that the outcome of a November runoff is effectively a forgone conclusion. Several of McDonnell's opponents have already declared their support for McDonnell, stating that 'the voters have spoken' as to their choice of LA County's next Sheriff. Sources suggest that Tanaka has already been advised to throw in the towel now and avoid the Trutanich-like humiliation that otherwise awaits him in November.
If indeed McDonnell is declared the outright victor and Sheriff-elect before July 4, it would not only give him a breather from the relentless pace he has maintained throughout his campaign, but more importantly allow him to put a transition team in place to start working on the many reforms needed to put an end to the scandals that have plagued the Sheriff's Dept. in recent times.
As for Tanaka, few people
Fernando Guerra, a political science professor at Loyola Marymount University, predicted that donors and endorsers would flock to McDonnell after his lopsided victory, calling Tanaka "a very lonely candidate." the LA Times reported. "It's obviously a slam-dunk for McDonnell in the runoff," Guerra said. "He'll still have to run a campaign, and some crazy thing can happen, but without any great revelations, McDonnell should win and probably win two to one."