A rare race for LA Sheriff

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Los Angeles County voters have a rare opportunity this primary election: bringing a new sheriff to town.

There’s almost never been a race for LA Sheriff without an incumbent on the ballot. And no sitting sheriff has ever been defeated in an election— not even the late Sherman Block, who was re-elected even after he died during his 1998 campaign.

Out of seven candidates running to replace Lee Baca, all but two are “insiders”— active or retired members of the Sheriff’s Department. The leading outsider candidate has never had to manage a jail system like L.A.County’s. And the one with the most direct experience retired after a Citizens Commission partially blamed him for mismanagement. (Two candidates will face a run-off in November.)

Here’s a special report by KCRW host Warren Olney on the highly charged dynamics of the race for Sheriff.