It certainly cannot be understated that the three-plus years of Sheriff Alex Villanueva’s first term as the 33rd Sheriff of Los Angeles County have truly, to most, passed at a dizzying pace. It seems like yesterday when history was made in the November 2018 general election as then-retired LASD Lieutenant Villanueva defied all the political odds by becoming the first candidate to defeat an incumbent L.A. County Sheriff in over 100 years. But ready or not, the November 2022 general election is less than nine months away.
To date, there are six declared candidates who are challenging the incumbent Sheriff and seeking to convince registered voters of Los Angeles County to cast their votes for them in the primary election, which will occur on Tuesday, June 7. If one candidate cannot secure at least 50% of the vote plus one, there will be a runoff in the general election, which will occur on November 8 between the two candidates who have the highest number of votes.
However, because the Sheriff election is nonpartisan (no political affiliation is shown on the ballot), one of the seven candidates could win outright on June 7, which would eliminate the need for a Sheriff vote in the general election. Some pundits believe that with seven candidates, the possibility of one candidate carrying a majority of the vote will be difficult, while others believe that voter turnout could be the difference in choosing an outright winner in the June 2022 primary.
I believe that all PPOA members should hear directly from the seven candidates who want to be your Sheriff.
On January 26, PPOA and ALADS proudly co-hosted a Sheriff Candidates Forum at the Pacific Palms Resort. If there was one downside to this exceptional event, it was that, due to COVID-19 issues, there was extremely limited seating at the resort and many of our PPOA members were wait-listed as our allotted seats were quickly reserved.
Except for one candidate, Long Beach Police Chief Robert Luna, the other six candidates were either retired or present members of the Sheriff’s Department (alphabetically): Retired LASD Assistant Sheriff and present LAX Police Chief Cecil Rhambo, Retired LASD Captain Matt Rodriguez, Captain Britta Steinbrenner, Lieutenant Eric Strong, Chief Eli Vera and Sheriff Alex Villanueva.
All seven candidates had previously advised PPOA and ALADS that they sought each organization’s political endorsement. Additionally, all seven candidates submitted their responses to questionnaires submitted by PPOA and submitted by ALADS. The forum began promptly at 6 p.m. and was livestreamed. For our PPOA members who could not view the forum in person or livestreamed, I encourage you to please watch the video, which is available at PPOA.com.
PPOA President Tab Rhodes and ALADS President Jim Wheeler welcomed the forum guests and livestream viewers. Tab also thanked the staff of both associations for the enormous amount of work they did to present the Candidates Forum. PPOA Second Vice President Tony Coleman was the PPOA Endorsement Committee chair, and Aily Baldwin was the ALADS Political Endorsement chair. Aily explained the forum’s agenda and format, followed by Tony introducing the seven candidates to the stage. The moderator of the forum was KNX News Radio reporter Pete Demetriou. He is a longtime supporter of the men and women who wear the badge and has credibility in law enforcement circles as being fair in his reporting. Pete was masterful at keeping each of the seven candidates on the necessary timelines that were previously established.
I will refrain from getting into all the juicy details of the forum (there were a few), hoping it will motivate you to watch the video. I believe that all PPOA members should hear directly from the seven candidates who want to be your Sheriff, including our PPOA members who work at the District Attorney’s Office and the Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner and have a professional interest in who will lead the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department.
The PPOA Sheriff Election Committee, which is composed of PPOA Board members who are active LASD employees and their selected delegates, continues to meet and thoroughly evaluate the 2022 Sheriff election. Please monitor your PPOA app and personal (non-County) email for additional election information. The June 2022 primary election is less than four months away.