Embattled L.A. County Sheriff Villanueva Will Have To Fight To Stay in Office
Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva will be facing a run-off election come November, having failed to get the support of 50 percent of the voters required to remain in office.
Not only has the sheriff failed to avoid a fall challenge, he’s actually doing pretty poorly, though so far only about a third of the votes have been counted. He’s in the lead, but he has just 34 percent of the vote in a pool of nine candidates. By comparison, the top candidate to replace Eric Garcetti as mayor of Los Angeles, Rick Caruso, has 42 percent of the vote in a field of 12 candidates.
If you don’t think these numbers are bad for Villanueva, he’s currently getting about the same percentage of the vote as he got when he ran against incumbent Sheriff Jim McDonnell in the 2018 primary. Except there, Villanueva ended up in second place, behind McDonnell’s 47.6 percent of the vote. Villanueva then managed to pull ahead of McDonnell in the November run-off to unseat him. These 2022 results so far are very low numbers for an incumbent sheriff.
Just behind Villanueva is challenger Robert Luna, a retired Long Beach police chief, who has 24 percent of the vote. And just after Luna is Eric Strong, an LASD lieutenant, with 12.5 percent of the vote.
If those figures stay about where they are, they don’t bode well for Villanueva, but be wary about drawing any wide cultural conclusions given the particulars of Villanueva’s increasingly combative and unusual first term.
Villanueva campaigned on a promise to reform the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department to eliminate corruption, but what has happened since has most certainly not been as first advertised to voters. Trouble reared its head almost immediately after he took office as he reinstated a deputy connected to Villanueva who had been fired in 2016 over allegations he stalked and attacked an ex-girlfriend and whose firing had been upheld by an appeals board. The deputy has since lost his job again af
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