Sheriff Mike "Calamity" Carona's campaign officials are claiming the two-term sheriff will easily surpass the 50 percent plus one vote requirement tonight. If true, that outcome would negate the need for a runoff in November. And the man who once promised he'd seek no more than two terms would get his third.
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The Carona camp says challenger Bill Hunt will finish second with about 30 percent of the vote; Ralph Martin will get under 10 percent.
In recent weeks, Hunt has claimed he'd win a majority of votes today and Martin has been optimistic that he'd force a runoff with Carona, who has brought scandal after scandal--usually involving his sex or money--to the department. To the sheriff's joy, most members of the voting public are clueless about his conduct.
I predict that if Carona wins outright tonight, he won't serve a full, four-year term. He's hoping for another, high-profile position. But there's also this: the FBI and US Attorney's office are disgusted by criminal activities during Calamity Mike's reign at the powerful, $580 million-a-year agency. There will be future federal indictments tied to the Orange County Sheriff's Department. Take that bet to Vegas, if not to Rick Rizzolo's strip club.
Carona might even be the subject of a future book or movie.