Former Long Beach Police Chief Robert Luna has picked up endorsements from all of his June primary opponents in his bid to replace Alex Villanueva as Los Angeles County Sheriff.
Luna’s campaign announced Saturday that he has received endorsements from his seven primary opponents: LASD Lt. Eric Strong; LAX Police Chief Cecil Rhambo; LASD Sgt. Karla Yesenia Carranza; retired LASD Capt. Britta S. Steinbrenner; LASD Chief Eli Vera; retired LASD Capt. Matt Rodriguez and parole agent April Saucedo Hood.
In the June 7 primary, Luna managed to bring home the most votes among the crowded field of challengers seeking to unseat the current sheriff, who frequently made unwanted headlines during his first term as the county’s highest law enforcement official.
Luna was the only candidate in the field with no previous ties to the Sheriff’s Department, but his distinguished career as a law enforcement administrator earned him praise both in and out of the police community and led to him receiving the Los Angeles Times‘ official endorsement.
Once a crowded field of candidates looking to unseat Villanueva, there now appears to be a unified front of law enforcement administrators looking to remove the embattled sheriff, who has clashed with members of the media, as well as the L.A. County Board of Supervisors that oversees his department’s multi-billion dollar budget.
Elected in 2018 as a Democrat, Villanueva has drawn intense scrutiny during his tenure for his handling of accusations of deputy gangs among his staff, as well as allegations of covering up use-of-force incidents.
Despite the controversies, Villanueva has delivered on some of his early promises as a candidate. Under his leadership, the Sheriff’s Department has restricted U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents from accessing the county jails, and he was successful in bringing body cameras to deputies in the field.
Villanueva won the most individual votes in the June primary at just a hair over 30%, but the entire field of candidates easily surpasses that vote total, which means the incumbent will have an uphill battle to keep his seat.
Voters will head to the polls on Nov. 8 to decide who will lead the Sheriff’s Department moving forward.