Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva trailing outsider in midterm race

Los Angeles County sheriff debate.jpg
Los Angeles County sheriff candidates Robert Luna, left, and incumbent Alex Villanueva, right, hold a televised debate on Sept. 21, 2022. Fox11 News

Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva trailing outsider in midterm race

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Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva is 13 points behind an outside challenger in the midterm election, early returns show.

As of Wednesday morning, Villanueva, a centrist Democrat, had 43.22% compared to former Long Beach Police Chief Robert Luna at 56.78%. Just 23.42% of 1.3 million ballots have been counted.

The Democratic sheriff has clashed frequently with far-left county lawmakers who want to downgrade the nation’s largest jail system in favor of giving inmates and convicted criminals community service and counseling.

The Board of Supervisors also placed Measure A on the ballot, which would allow them to remove the sheriff for malfeasance. So far, that initiative is winning as well.

Villanueva told CBS News Tuesday night that he was losing the election four years ago with the initial count of absentee ballots but expects that his support base, Asian and Latino communities, showed up on Election Day to vote. He said the final tally will likely take a week.

“The Democrat establishment does not want Latinos in office who are moderates or centrists, they want to purge them,” he said. “If you are not a progressive on the far left of the political spectrum, you are unwelcome in LA.”

Luna came up through the ranks of the Long Beach Police Department, serving 36 years, including seven as police chief. He is backed by the Los Angeles County Democratic Party and Democratic organizations, while Villanueva has the support of numerous city and county police unions.

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Luna stressed during the campaign and a televised debate that he would put a priority on getting along with the Board of Supervisors and District Attorney George Gascon, who has been a frequent Villanueva target because of lax prosecution policies.

“When you’re working with people, that doesn’t mean you’re a puppet,” Luna said during the September debate. “When you are consistently putting down the people who manage your budget, you’re not serving our residents to the best of your ability.”

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The Sheriff’s Department has a $3.5 billion budget and patrols 2,500 of the county’s 4,000 square miles, contracting with 42 cities for their law enforcement.

© 2022 Washington Examiner

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