LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Alex Villanueva has increased his lead over incumbent Jim McDonnell in the race for Los Angeles County Sheriff.
With the latest numbers released Tuesday afternoon, retired Sheriff’s Lt. Villanueva had increased his lead over Sheriff McDonnell to 86,920 votes. Villanueva had received 1,193,670 votes, compared to 1,106,750 for McDonnell, a margin of 51.89 percent to 48.11 percent.
There are still about 261,000 provisional and mail-in ballots that remain to be counted.
In a statement released Tuesday evening, McDonnell would not officially concede. However, he wrote, “I realize that the statistics appear to favor my opponent. I plan to reach out to Mr. Villanueva to discuss an orderly transition, should that be necessary.”
“Over a quarter of a million ballots still remain to be counted,” McDonnell added. “I owe it to the more than 1.1 million people thus far who voted for me to follow this through to the end.”
It has been more than 100 years since anyone has been able to unseat an incumbent L.A. County sheriff.
Both candidates are veteran law enforcement officers. Villanueva spent three decades with the LASD before retiring earlier this year, while McDonnell was with the Los Angeles Police Department for 29 years — including as second-in-command to then-chief Bill Bratton — before going on to lead the Long Beach Police Department and then being elected sheriff in 2014.
Villanueva campaigned to “clean house.” He had the backing of the Los Angeles Democratic Party and the Association of Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs, the union representing rank-and-file deputies.
McDonnell had the endorsement of at least four of the five county supervisors who control his budget and had the support of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, former Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck, and Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)