LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Alex Villanueva declared victory tonight in the race for L.A. County Sheriff – after the registrar’s office released the latest vote count in last week’s election.
“The results are not going to change and flip back in his favor,” he said.
The latest tally has Villanueva about 58,000 votes ahead of incumbent Jim McDonnell – who hasn’t conceded, noting there are still nearly 423,000 votes left to count.
Both candidates appeared at a charity event for the City of Hope Friday night.
“I want to be optimistic. We don’t know those additional ballots are coming from,” Sheriff McDonnell said.
McDonnell took over the department with its $3.3 billion budget following the worst abuse scandal against inmates at its jails.
Villanueva is a retired Sheriff’s Department lieutenant who campaigned to “clean house.”
“Oh, there’s going to be a lot of wholesale changes,” he said. “We spoke about turning the pyramid upside down. I was dead serious about that.”
McDonnell is skeptical.
“It’s not realistic what he said. We’re a civil service system. So you don’t just move people out and move your own people in,” he said.
In the waning days of the campaign, Villanueva’s team sent out a mailer that linked McDonnell to President Trump.
“That hit piece they put out was apparently somewhat effective. But [it was] half-truths. Misleading,” he insisted.
However, exit polls found Villanueva performed will among Latinos.
“For us, we’re done,” he said. “Everything all the trends in our favor. Mathematically, it’s illogical to see that trend reversed.”
The final results will be certified Nov. 30.