Incumbent Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell conceded defeat late Monday afternoon as his challenger, retired Sheriff’s Lt. Alex Villanueva, pulled ahead by 125,878 in the ongoing ballot count for the Nov. 6 General Election.
“Today, I contacted Alex Villanueva to offer my best wishes for his administration as the 33rd elected Sheriff of Los Angeles County,” McDonnell said in a statement late Monday afternoon.
“We are in the process of arranging an orderly transition and a series of briefings to assist the new administration and it is my hope that the Sheriff-elect will come to his new position with an open mind,” McDonnell said.
“The honor of serving as the LA County Sheriff is one like no other in law enforcement. As the elected leader of the nation’s largest Sheriff’s Department, and the second largest law enforcement agency in the nation, the Sheriff will be immediately faced with a range of very complex issues that go to the heart of maintaining public safety and public trust,” he said.
“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the nearly 1.2 million people who voted for me,” McDonnell said. “Theirs are votes of confidence and recognition that the sworn and civilian personnel of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department are doing a great job under difficult circumstances. These voters see that crime is down, arrests and public contacts are up. We are setting the national standard in the reform of large jail systems, and we are now better prepared than ever before to deal with a range of emerging threats, whether they be natural or man-made. I am also deeply grateful to the men and women of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, many of whom have personally expressed to me how much the LASD has moved forward, even as we also worked to preserve its many fine traditions.”
McDonnell said he will have more to say and more information to share in a press conference set for Tuesday morning at 10:30.
“We wish outgoing Sheriff Jim McDonnell all the best in his future endeavors, and welcome Sheriff-elect Alex Villanueva in his new role,” County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas said in a statement Tuesday. “While we have made some important strides in oversight and criminal justice reform, much remains to be done to enhance law enforcement in Los Angeles County for department employees – both sworn and civilian – and for the community at large.
After Election Day, as of Wednesday, Nov. 7 at 4:56 a.m. — before any outstanding ballots were counted — Villanueva led by 4,927 votes with all 4,728 county precincts reporting.
Villanueva had 820,333 votes (50.15 percent) to McDonnell’s 815,406 votes (49.85 percent).
In the county registrar’s first round of counting provisional and mail-in ballots, as of Friday afternoon, Nov. 9, Villanueva’s lead was cut to 335 votes, with 867,964 (or 50.01 percent) to McDonnell’s 867,629 (or 49.99 percent).
But by Friday, Nov. 16, Villanueva’s vote count was 1,112,673 (51.33 percent) to 1,054,863 (48.67 percent) for McDonnell, a difference of 57,810 votes.
Now, after nearly three weeks of counting those ballots, Villanueva’s lead has more than doubled to 125,878 votes, with 1,277,340 votes (52.59 percent) to McDonnell’s 1,151,462 (47.41 percent).
The registrar’s next ballot count update is scheduled for Wednesday.