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Facing 20 Point Deficit, Sheriff Villanueva Concedes To Robert Luna

4:49 PM PST on November 15, 2022

In a rambling speech that included tears, a Mark Twain quote, and a reference to Pottery Barn’s in-store policy, L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva finally conceded to Robert Luna.

Facing a roughly twenty point deficit after the last election update, Villanueva spent the majority of a nearly hour long press conference attacking his critics and the press but finished by saying he wishes Luna well and hopes he succeeds.

Towards the end of the press conference, Villanueva broke down into tears and was joined by his wife.

“We’ll leave the keys in the ignition with the engine running [for Luna]… what he does with it that’s going to be entirely up to him,” Villanueva said during the question-and-answer portion of the presser.

During the presentation, which went on for more than 30 minutes, Villanueva painted himself as a reformer, in what will likely be one of his last face-to-face interactions with the media.

“Speaking truth to power is not without risk,” he said before recalling a story in which an elected official asked him early on in his career, “Do you want to be a reformer or do you want to be reelected?”

“I'm proud to say I'm a reformer,’ Villanueva, who will be leaving before the end of the year, said boastfully.

Positioning himself as a reformer was what ultimately helped propel Villanueva to an unlikely career as the head of the largest sheriff’s department in the country. But almost as soon as he got into office, he reverted back to the controversial values that sheriffs have upheld for decades.

Villanueva will be remembered for sparring with county officials, rehiring deputies that were accused of significant misconduct, and allegedly mishandling an investigation into leaked photos taken of the remains of Kobe Bryant, costing taxpayers tens of millions of dollars.

None of that stopped Villanuea from listing off all of his perceived accomplishments from his reign on Tuesday. The sheriff closed by promoting his new Twitter account. Apparently there are so many fake Alex Villanueva Twitter accounts he had to resort to using a handle with only one “L” in Villanueva.

“It's kind of comical, all of the cybersquatting that goes on once you become a public figure,” he said.

But among his peers, Villanueva will likely be missed. The sheriff received a more than 80 percent approval rating from the union that represents deputies.

On Tuesday, Villanueva said that Luna has his work cut out for him: “[Luna] said that our organization was chaos dysfunction, we were scandals, and that I was a rogue sheriff. I think he’s going to have to want to swallow that himself.

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