Alex Villanueva scored an upset win on Monday in the race for Los Angeles County sheriff, making Jim McDonnell the first incumbent to lose the seat in more than a century.
Villanueva, a retired sheriff’s lieutenant, proclaimed victory last week. But McDonnell had declined to concede, saying he would wait for all the votes to be counted in the contest to lead the country’s largest sheriff’s department.
McDonnell admitted defeat Monday after updated election results showed Villanueva leading by nearly 126,000 votes with less than 100,000 ballots left to be counted.
Villanueva is expected to be sworn in next week to lead the department, which has been plagued by scandal in recent years. Former Sheriff Lee Baca was convicted in 2017 of obstructing an FBI investigation into corrupt and violent guards who took bribes to smuggle contraband into the jails he ran and savagely beat inmates.
He also had the backing of an immigrant rights group after he vowed to kick U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials out of the county’s massive jail system, reports the Los Angeles Times. Jurisdictions across the country have faced controversy when it comes to cooperation with ICE over inmates flagged for deportation. The Times reports that Villanueva would still honor ICE’s request to detain inmates convicted of serious crimes, however, as the department does now.
More about Alexander Villanueva
A firm believer in education and a profile in perseverance, Alex started his college education in Puerto Rico, continued while on active duty in the Air Force, he then burned the midnight oil while working patrol, eventually earning an Associate of Arts, a Bachelor of Science, a Master of Public Administration, and culminating with a Doctor of Public Administration from the University of La Verne in 2005.
In addition to being a lawman, Alex has worn many hats over the years: airman, soldier, Non-Commissioned Officer, Commissioned Officer, teacher’s aide, tutor, drill instructor, adjunct professor, founding president of an organization devoted to fighting corruption, patrol deputy, training officer, field supervisor, watch commander, and the first person to raise awareness