The Riverside County sheriff’s race has tightened over the past six months. In the spring of 2017, incumbent Sheriff Stan Sniff seemed to have a clear path to re-election. But an ongoing spat or controversy with the Board of Supervisors has given hope to his two challengers — Riverside County Sheriff Lt. Chad Bianco and former Hemet Police Chief Dave Brown.
However, the campaign financial reports through Dec. 31 continue to give Sniff a large money lead over Bianco and Brown.
Unless one of the three candidates receives more than 50 percent of the votes cast in the June primary election, the two candidates with the most votes will vie for the sheriff’s position in the November election.
At the end of 2017, Sniff already had $466,000 in cash with the June primary only five months away. Bianco, who ran against Sniff in 2014, had $114,000, and Brown, who only began his official campaign in December, had $68,000.
According to the reports filed with the county’s Registrar of Voters Office, Sniff has received about 246 contributions, of which four were greater than $10,000. The largest — $55,000 — came from Harold Matzner of Palm Springs. Two others, $41,000 from Frederick Noble and $13,000 from Arco Travel, were in-kind contributions for fundraisers last fall. And Nachhattar Chandi of La Quinta gave $15,000. Both Matzner and Noble gave to Sniff’s 2014 campaign.
Sniff has received 11 other donations of more than $2,000, and 29 contributions between $1,000 and $2,000.
But the largest donation in the sheriff’s race so far was more than a quarter million dollars to Bianco from the Riverside Sheriff’s Association Public Education Fund. Slightly more than half has been in-kind payments for Bianco’s mailers, which have totaled nearly $130,000.
Of his total 44 contributions, only four others were greater than $1,000. One of these came from family.
Brown has received two contributions of $10,000. One was from the Hemet Police Association, and the other from West Coast Lights and Sirens. He has garnered another 12 between $2,500 and $4,000, and 28 contributions between $1,000 and $2,000 out his total 87 contributors.
So far, no one from Idyllwild has contributed to the sheriff’s campaign.