The countdown has begun for incumbent Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva and former Long Beach Police Chief Robert Luna as polling stations have closed and election results begin to roll in.
At 4:10 a.m. Wednesday, the The Bharat Express News reported that about 42% of the votes had been counted. Luna was in the lead with 56.8% of the vote, with Villanueva taking 43.2%.
Villaneuva, who was elected LA County sheriff in 2018, has been criticized during his tenure as county sheriff for his combative relationship with the county’s board of supervisors and handling investigations.
Villaneuva holds its election festivities in Montebello.
While a recent poll sponsored by the Los Angeles Times showed the sheriff is trying Luna, Villanueva doesn’t put much value in the numbers.
“The poll is what bought the Times. They’ve been pushing a false story hard, so they’re going to get a poll that matches their false story,” Villanueva told TBEN reporter Ross Palombo. “So I don’t have any confidence. It’s an inaccurate poll.”
Villanueva said the LA Times had contacted one of his campaign staff, giving the sheriff an idea for the poll’s methodology.
“We had a really good understanding of how they did their poll and how they got to those numbers. It’s absolutely shameful for the time,” Villanueva said.
Meanwhile, Luna tries to break into the LA County Sheriff’s Department after a 36-year career with the Long Beach Police Department.
It is the first time that Luna has applied for office.
Luna said that if elected, he plans to hire a new executive team and work with the Civilian Oversight Commission to improve relations with the province’s residents.
“I think it will make a significant difference and I believe it will be the difference. It has become very clear to me that I am going all over the province and listening to our residents that they want change,” Luna said.