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HomeUSA newsLos Angeles Sheriff Villanueva concedes race for re-election

Los Angeles Sheriff Villanueva concedes race for re-election

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Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva conceded defeat in his quest for a second four-year term at the top of law enforcement against Robert Luna on Tuesday.

Villanueva, who had a reputation for defying critics of police and vaccine mandates, conceded to his opponent during a news conference in which he criticized the county for its negotiating methodology before thanking his staff.

Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva says deputies make arrests, but cases “fall apart” when they reach District Attorney Gascón. On Tuesday, Los Angeles County is overseeing voters to draft a proposition that would give them the power to remove him from office.
(Hans Gutknecht/MediaNews)

Whenever there was an executive meeting where decisions were made, he said, they would decide what was the right thing to do and then figure out how to make it happen.

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“You can negotiate on practices, but you can’t negotiate on principles,” Villanueva said. “I realize the political environment here in Los Angeles is the exact opposite, but that’s how it should be.”

The now ex-sheriff also had a message for the media, thanking them for their patience and encouraging them to continue speaking the truth and being the voice of democracy.

LOS ANGELES-CA-MAY 31, 2022: Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva speaks during a press conference at the Hall of Justice in downtown Los Angeles to announce the results of a recent eradication operation of marijuana in Antelope Valley.

LOS ANGELES-CA-MAY 31, 2022: Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva speaks during a press conference at the Hall of Justice in downtown Los Angeles to announce the results of a recent eradication operation of marijuana in Antelope Valley.
((Christina House/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images))

“You can’t survive if all you can do is pair it with the political narrative of the establishment,” he said. “That is democracy in decline. So come back to reporting everything, both sides, passionately, and then we’ll be better off for it.”

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The Los Angeles County recorder’s website posted the live election results, and as of Tuesday, Luna had received 60 percent of the vote and Villanueva 40 percent.

There was also an amendment to the county charter that voters approved with 70.6 percent of the vote. The amendment gives the County Board of Supervisors the authority to remove an elected sheriff from office for cause, including violation of law, dereliction of duty, misappropriation of funds, willful falsification of documents, or obstruction of an investigation, by a four-fifths vote of the Board of Supervisors.

Los Angeles, CA - February 15: Sheriff Alex Villanueva provides details on a week-long statewide operation to combat human trafficking, at a press conference held at the Hall of Justice on Tuesday, February 15, 2022 in Los Angeles, CA.  (Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Los Angeles, CA – February 15: Sheriff Alex Villanueva provides details on a week-long statewide operation to combat human trafficking, at a press conference held at the Hall of Justice on Tuesday, February 15, 2022 in Los Angeles, CA. (Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Shortly after Villanueva conceded, Luna took to Twitter to make a statement.

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“Thank you, Los Angeles County,” he said. “I am deeply humbled and honored that you have chosen me as your next Sheriff. With your vote, you have entrusted me with a clear mandate to bring new leadership and accountability to the Sheriff’s Department. And that is exactly what I will do.”

Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn congratulated Luna on Twitter, saying, “I’m ready to work with you.”

Over the next two weeks, Villanueva said, he plans to visit all the departments to thank them.

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Every adversity he faced throughout his career, Villanueva said, propelled him to a bigger stage, audience and voice.

With that voice, he wanted to send a message to those who believed that he was defeated.

“Just the opposite,” he said. “We leave here with our heads held high. We accomplished the mission … we probably could have used four more years to solidify it, but we set a standard, a very high standard.”

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