Incumbent Jim McDonnell Concedes to Challenger Alex Villanueva in L.A. County Sheriff’s Race

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Incumbent Jim McDonnell on Monday conceded to challenger Alex Villanueva in the race to become the next Los Angeles County sheriff.

Villanueva, a retired sheriff's lieutenant, is the first candidate to unseat a living L.A. County sheriff in over 100 years, according to the Los Angeles Times.

"Today, I contacted Alex Villanueva to offer my best wishes for his administration as the 33rd elected Sheriff of Los Angeles County," McDonnell said in a statement issued through the Sheriff's Department. "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."

McDonnell added that the "honor of serving as the LA County Sheriff is one like no other in law enforcement," and said he would hold a press conference Tuesday to discuss further details of the upcoming transfer of power.

Villanueva — who lacks experience at the upper levels of law enforcement — managed to push McDonnell into a rare runoff election as the incumbent sought his second term.

As of Monday evening, Villanueva had a nearly 126,000-vote lead over McDonnell with only 100,000 ballots left to be counted.

Although McDonnell led with 58 percent of the vote on election night, Villanueva mounted a lead over the ensuing three weeks as additional mail-in and provisional ballots were counted.

Villanueva had previously proclaimed victory on Nov. 16. He is scheduled to be sworn in next Monday, Dec. 3.

The incumbent sheriff's loss comes at a time when the department remains embroiled in a series of scandals — including some that predated McDonnell's tenure, such as the conviction of former Sheriff Lee Baca on corruption charges last year.

Villanueva challenged McDonnell from the left, promising to reform the department and force immigration agents out of the county's jails. McDonnell initially opposed California's so-called "sanctuary state" laws and still allows ICE to use office space in a county jail facility.

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