Sheriff Jim McDonnell concedes defeat in re-election bid

The race for Los Angeles County Sheriff finally ended Monday, with incumbent Jim McDonnell conceding defeat after updated election results showed his opponent, retired sheriff Lt. Alex Villanueva, with a 125,878-vote lead with only 100,000 ballots left to count.

Villanueva proclaimed victory in the race last week but McDonnell declined to concede the race, saying he would wait for all the votes to be counted. But with Monday’s release of updated results from the Nov. 6 election showing him with no chance of victory, McDonnell called Villanueva to concede.

McDonnell, the former chief of the Long Beach Police Department, issued a statement saying, “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.”

“The honor of serving as the L.A. County sheriff is one like no other in law enforcement,” he said. “As the elected leader of the nation’s largest sheriff’s department, and the second-largest law enforcement agency in the nation, the sheriff will be immediately faced with a range of very complex issues that go to the heart of maintaining public safety and public trust.”

McDonnell is the first Los Angeles County Sheriff to lose a re-election bid in more than a century. According to the results released Monday by the county Registrar- Recorder/County Clerk’s Office, Villanueva has 1,277,340 votes, while McDonnell has 1,151,462; a 52.6 to 47.4 percent edge for Villanueva, who is expected to be sworn in next week.

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