Cooper amasses $1.6 million war chest while fellow Democrats await his candidacy decision

While not quite dramatic as the NBA's LeBron James' infamous decision on free agency several years ago, one of the more intriguing political stories for Elk Grove-based politicians centers on California Assemblymember Jim Cooper. With a June primary date approaching and filing deadline about a month from now, area politicians await Cooper's decision to seek reelection to the 10th Assembly District or run for Sacramento County Sheriff.

Regardless of which office Cooper decides to run for, there is one thing for certain - he will have a substantial campaign war chest. According to campaign finance documents recorded this week, between two accounts, Cooper has more than $1.6 million to finance whatever office he decides to pursue.

In campaign documents filed yesterday with Sacramento County for his possible sheriff's campaign, Cooper raised $103,937 and ended with $593,543. Assembly campaign documents recorded with the California Secretary of State showed Cooper raised $317,100 and ended the year with $1,074,059 in cash on hand.

Cooper had been in the Assembly since his 2014 election and is eligible to hold that office for two more terms if he seeks and is reelected in the 10th Assembly District. Last week Cooper submitted his name to the California Democratic Party endorsement for the Assembly position. 

Although Cooper is formally seeking the party endorsement for the Assembly, he has also been actively fundraising for a possible run as Sacramento County Sheriff. In 2010 Cooper, a retired 30-year sheriff's department veteran ran and lost to Scott Jones. 

By not announcing his decision, he has frozen one of his political allies, Elk Grove City Councilmember Stephanie Nguyen, from formally announcing her candidacy for the seat. While Nguyen has been stalled by Cooper, it has not stopped other Democratic candidates from entering the contest.

Sacramento City Councilmember Eric Guerra, who last year announced a bid for the California State Senate, dropped out of that race and entered the 10th Assembly contest in early January. In his finance filing, Guerra has $325,000 in his campaign account, most of which was transferred from his senate campaign account.

Nguyen has formed a committee called Stephanie Nguyen for Assembly 2022 with the California Secretary of State, but no filings are available. Late last year, Nguyen started fundraising using her Elk Grove City Council account, but that report has not been released by Elk Grove's city clerk. 

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