Historic Result in LA County Sheriff’s Race

(CN) – Jim McDonnell conceded to challenger Alex Villanueva Monday in a historic Los Angeles County Sheriff’s race that saw the defeat of an incumbent for the first time in more than 100 years.

Early vote counts on Election Day saw McDonnell with 58 percent compared to Villanueva’s 42 percent, but McDonnell’s lead declined over the last few weeks as provisional and mail-in ballots were added to the count.

McDonnell issued a written statement Monday as the updated tally showed Villanueva ahead by almost 126,000 votes and 100,000 votes still to be counted.

“Today, I contacted Alex Villanueva to offer my best wishes for his administration as the 33rd elected Sheriff of Los Angeles County,” McDonnell wrote. “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.”

Villanueva served as a lieutenant in the department before retiring. He ran his campaign with the promise to reform the scandal-laden department. Former Sheriff Lee Baca was convicted last year for obstruction of a federal investigation of civil rights violations in county jails.

Villanueva also promised to remove immigration agents from the jails as McDonnell had allowed U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials to set up offices there.

The historic win came at the tail-end of a rare runoff election as McDonnell sought a second term in office.

McDonnell is expected to hold a press conference Tuesday. Villanueva is set to be sworn in next week.

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