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Los Angeles County Sheriff Election Results

1942-2022

Incumbent candidates seeking reelection do not want to face runoff elections. The very fact that they face a runoff is because more than half of voters chose not to reelect them. Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva will be facing a runoff in November against former Long Beach Police Chief Robert Luna. Villanueva comes out of the primary with less than a third of the vote. This gives him the lowest percentage of votes for any incumbent Los Angeles County sheriff in at least 80 years. Although anything is possible, historical patterns do not favor his odds of being reelected in the November runoff. Since at least 1942, only two incumbent Los Angeles County Sheriffs have had to face a runoff election. In neither case was the incumbent reelected. In fact, it was ironically Villanueva who defeated incumbent Sheriff McDonnell in 2018 in the runoff election of that year. McDonnell even had a much higher percentage of votes in that year's primary (47.6%) than does Villanueva in this year's primary (30.7%). In the other case, in 1998, Sheriff Sherman Block died just days before the runoff election that pitted him against his former chief deputy, Lee Baca (see story block at end of this page). The Block example, however, doesn't really offer meaningful insight into Villanueva's odds in November. We might also look at other countywide office runoffs involving incumbents in Los Angeles County. In the last 80 years, incumbent Los Angeles County District Attorneys faced runoff elections four times. Most recently, in 2020, D.A. Jackie Lacey, despite garnering almost 49 percent of the primary vote, was defeated by George Gascón in that runoff. Of four incumbent D.A.'s who faced runoffs, only one ended up being reelected. Gil Garcetti was reelected in the 1996 runoff, coming out of the primary with only 37 percent of the vote. However, in 2000, after facing yet another runoff and, despite a slightly better showing in that primary, was ultimately defeated in the runoff by Steve Cooley. Incumbent Los Angeles County Assessors faced two runoffs since 1942. Only one of two incumbent Assessors was reelected in a runoff. Jeffrey Prang won reelection in the 2018 runoff, but he did come out of the primary with a strong 47.7% of votes. In 1990, however, John Lynch lost his reelection bid in a runoff against Kenneth Hahn. Lynch went into the runoff with only 30% of the vote in that year's primary, just slightly under Villanueva's result this year. Even historical incumbent runoffs for other countywide offices fall short of offering Villanueva strong odds of reelection.

June 2022 Primary Election (possibly no majority - runoff may be required)

Results as of 7/1/2022 11:38 a.m. (final count)

Candidate Votes Percent of Vote
Alex Villanueva* 454,556 30.7%
Robert Luna 383,181 25.9%
Eric Strong 232,274 15.7%
Cecil Rhambo 113,386 7.7%
Karla Yesenia Carranza 75,688 5.1%
Britta S. Steinbrenner 66,191 4.5%
Eli Vera 63,757 4.3%
Matt Rodriguez 59,103 4.0%
April Saucedo Hood 34,370 2.3%

November 2018 General Election (Runoff)

Candidate Votes Percent of Vote
Alex Villanueva 1,310,780 52.9%
Jim McDonnell* 1,169,184 47.2%

June 2018 Primary Election (No Majority Winner - Runoff Required)

Candidate Votes Percent of Vote
Jim McDonnell* 579,213 47.6%
Alex Villanueva 407,679 33.5%
Robert Lindsey 230,615 18.9%

November 2014 General Election (Runoff)

Candidate Votes Percent of Vote
Jim McDonnell 743,406 75.0%
Paul Tanaka 247,043 25.0%

June 2014 Primary Election (No Majority Winner - Runoff Required)

Candidate Votes Percent of Vote
Jim McDonnell 340,682 49.4%
Paul Tanaka 104,192 15.1%
Bob Olmsted 67,855 9.8%
James Hellmold 52,953 7.7%
Patrick L Gomez 45,276 6.6%
Todd S Rogers 41,855 6.1%
Lou Vince 37,458 5.4%

June 2010 Primary Election

Candidate Votes Percent of Vote
Lee Baca* 640,606 100.0%

June 2006 Primary Election

Candidate Votes Percent of Vote
Lee Baca* 547,302 66.8%
Don Meredith 83,006 10.1%
Ken Masse 82,305 10.0%
Ray Leyva 70,583 8.6%
Paul L. Jernigan Jr 36,466 4.5%

March 2002 Primary Election

Candidate Votes Percent of Vote
Lee Baca* 646,556 72.3%
John Stites 136,555 15.3%
Patrick L. Gomez 110,834 12.4%

November 1998 General Election (Runoff)

Candidate Votes Percent of Vote
Lee Baca 1,112,166 61.3%
Sherman Block* (see story box below) 703,178 38.7%

June 1998 Primary Election (No Majority Winner - Runoff Required)

Candidate Votes Percent of Vote
Sherman Block* 431,591 36.1%
Lee Baca 387,361 32.4%
W A "Bill" Baker 237,090 19.8%
Patrick L. Gomez 138,730 11.6%

June 1994 Primary Election

Candidate Votes Percent of Vote
Sherman Block* 468,799 53.5%
Robert Irmas 150,489 17.2%
Gil Carrillo 128,263 14.6%
John Stites 59,594 6.8%
Robert H. Lewis Jr. 37,045 4.2%
Tab Rhodes 32,048 3.7%

June 1990 Primary Election

Candidate Votes Percent of Vote
Sherman Block* 620,114 67.1%
Roland C. Biscailuz 218,044 23.6%
Joseph G. Senteno 85,694 9.3%

June 1986 Primary Election

Candidate Votes Percent of Vote
Sherman Block* 894,109 84.4%
Saul E. Lankster 69,435 6.6%
Joseph G. Senteno 56,919 5.4%
Lance Lukenbill 38,303 3.6%

June 1982 Primary Election

Candidate Votes Percent of Vote
Sherman Block 848,729 63.1%
Bob Feliciano 274,469 20.4%
Alex Jacinto 81,181 6.0%
Charles Greene 63,034 4.7%
Joe Taylor 32,653 2.4%
Kenneth W. Lung 28,999 2.2%
Peter G. Secor 15,608 1.2%

June 1978 Primary Election

Candidate Votes Percent of Vote
Peter J. Pitchess* 1,270,986 74.1%
John Turner 126,028 7.3%
Richard "Sam" Fusilier 117,966 6.9%
Peter Dunn 84,280 4.9%
Havey A. Saltz 63,803 3.7%
John D Sobota 52,153 3.0%

June 1974 Primary Election

Candidate Votes Percent of Vote
Peter J. Pitchess* 1,133,660 78.3%
Robert Flannery Cox 122,739 8.5%
Richard Fusilier 111,737 7.7%
Manuel "Tank" Barrera 79,939 5.5%

June 1970 Primary Election

Candidate Votes Percent of Vote
Peter J. Pitchess* 1,407,919 84.3%
Oscar Zeta Acosta 119,063 7.1%
Everett Holladay 105,426 6.3%
Richard "Sam" Fusilier 37,062 2.2%
Other Candidates 0 0.0%

June 1966 Primary Election

Candidate Votes Percent of Vote
Peter J. Pitchess* 1,391,363 86.9%
Anthony W. Bright 105,113 6.6%
Anthony A. "Tony" Naimo 69,295 4.3%
John K. O. Webster 34,964 2.2%
Other Candidates 208 0.0%

June 1962 Primary Election

Candidate Votes Percent of Vote
Peter J. Pitchess* 931,761 99.9%
Other Candidates 929 0.1%

June 1958 Primary Election

Candidate Votes Percent of Vote
Peter J. Pitchess 964,027 72.4%
John C. Doran 236,753 17.8%
Howard M. Kessler 69,919 5.3%
Dan Crowley 60,500 4.5%
Other Candidates 67 0.0%

June 1954 Primary Election

Candidate Votes Percent of Vote
Eugene W. Biscailuz* 766,068 71.9%
John C. Doran 258,770 24.3%
Norris G. Stensland 40,366 3.8%
Other Candidates 71 0.0%

June 1950 Primary Election

Candidate Votes Percent of Vote
Eugene W. Biscailuz* 575,774 53.4%
John C. Doran 321,063 29.8%
Joseph P. McCarthy 118,187 11.0%
Walter A. Martin 38,497 3.6%
George W. Smith 23,707 2.2%
Other Candidates 8 0.0%

June 1946 Primary Election

Candidate Votes Percent of Vote
Eugene W. Biscailuz* 584,932 84.5%
Paul M. Halpoff 107,068 15.5%
Other Candidates 239 0.0%

June 1942 Primary Election

Candidate Votes Percent of Vote
Eugene W. Biscailuz* 487,878 99.8%
Other Candidates 891 0.2%

* Incumbent

Source: Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk


In 1998, Sheriff Sherman Block died just days before voters were to decide upon his bid to be re-elected to a fourth term as Sheriff of Los Angeles County. Block's supporters were not dismayed and continued to campaign for the late Sheriff’s re-election. They hoped to deny a victory to Block’s opponent, Lee Baca. An election victory for a deceased candidate would place the appointment of a new Sheriff in the hands of the County Board of Supervisors. County Supervisors were not supportive of Baca's candidacy. Baca was considered an outsider to the county political establishment. Baca won the election, however, with more than 60 percent of the vote.