The thin blue line is split in the race for Riverside County sheriff.

Incumbent Sheriff Stan Sniff’s supporters include a retired sheriff and several former police chiefs from across the county. His challenger, sheriff’s Lt. Chad Bianco, has the backing of public safety unions, including the one that represents Sheriff’s Department deputies.

Bianco and Sniff are on the Nov. 6 ballot after finishing first and second, respectively, out of four candidates in the June primary. Sniff, in office since 2007, faces his toughest re-election fight. Bianco finished ahead of him by more than 14,000 votes and, overall, 68 percent of primary voters chose someone other than the incumbent. The Riverside Sheriffs’ Association, which represents more than 3,000 deputies, corrections officers, and other law enforcement personnel, is heavily invested in Bianco, giving him more than $650,000 before the primary and at least $200,000 for the general election, campaign finance records show.

The association accounted for 95 percent of Bianco’s 2017 campaign contributions. There are no limits to what a donor can give to a sheriff’s candidate.

Other unions backing Bianco include the Southern California Alliance of Law Enforcement; the Riverside Police Officers’ Association; the California Correctional Peace Officers Association; Cal FIRE Local 2881, and the Hemet Police Officers’ Association. Lake Elsinore Mayor Natasha Johnson also endorsed Bianco.

Bianco, who finished a distant second to Sniff in 2014, said the unions support him because “the sheriff has completely failed in his obligation to the Sheriff’s Department and the county,”

“The people working right now on the job, (who are) in the know, are completely aware that it’s time for a change.”


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