Can Villanueva push back challengers? A 2022 L.A. County sheriff’s race guide

A sheriff at a press conference
Sheriff Alex Villanueva at a news conference on March 29, 2022.
(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

Voters on June 7 will decide the future of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department at a critical moment for the agency.

California’s 2022 primary election is Tuesday. Here’s how to cast a ballot.

June 7, 2022

The department has long struggled to reshape itself after a corruption scandal a decade ago that led to convictions against longtime Sheriff Lee Baca and many other top officials. Jim McDonnell was elected sheriff in 2014 and pushed through a series of reforms. But voters ousted him in 2018 in favor of Alex Villanueva.

Villanueva‘s term has been marked by clashes with the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors as well as county watchdogs, who have accused the sheriff of mismanagement and rolling back reforms. The sheriff was elected as a Democrat, but his rhetoric and policies have taken a turn toward the conservative.


Villanueva faces several challengers who argue that his first term has been marked by scandals and that voters should throw him out. The latest involved attempts by officials to cover up an incident in which a deputy knelt on the head of a handcuffed inmate for three minutes because they feared the “negative light” it could shed on the department. After The Times exposed the incident, the sheriff said the reporter was under investigation in a criminal leak probe. He later backed off.

VIDEO | 05:11
LA Times Today: A 2022 L.A. County sheriff’s race guide

Watch L.A. Times Today at 7 p.m. on Spectrum News 1 on Channel 1 or live stream on the Spectrum News App. Palos Verdes Peninsula and Orange County viewers can watch on Cox Systems on channel 99.

Villanueva said he’s been an effective crime fighter and wants to address the region’s homeless crisis.

Here’s some basics about the race:


The sheriff


The challengers




Times columnist vs. the sheriff


More guides to the election: