Incumbent Hahn comes from one of the most prominent families in California politics.
The Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration, the heart of county government, is named for her father, the supervisor who helped bring the Dodgers to Los Angeles. Four blocks away is a City Hall building bearing the name of her brother James Hahn, the only Angeleno to be elected city controller, city attorney and mayor. Her uncle Gordon Hahn served on the state Assembly and City Council.
Like the rest of the family, Hahn has held her share of influential seats. After starting her professional life as a teacher, she kicked off her political career with a seat on the city’s charter reform commission, which modified the governing document. She went on to serve three terms on the City Council representing the 15th District before being elected to Congress in California’s 36th and, later, 44th districts.
Tiring of the partisan dysfunction after five years in Congress, Hahn — a resident of San Pedro — resigned in 2016 to run for supervisor.
After two terms, she is defending her 4th District seat against Villanueva, who is vying for a comeback after he was voted out as sheriff in 2022.
An Air Force veteran, Villanueva spent the bulk of his career with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. Even as a young deputy, Villanueva exhibited a taste for elected office. At age 29, he lost a run for the San Dimas City Council. The year after that, he ran unsuccessfully for L.A. County sheriff, pledging to fix a department whose morale had hit rock bottom. In 2015, he narrowly lost a seat for La Habra Heights City Council.
After retiring as a lieutenant, Villanueva made one more bid in 2018 to lead the Sheriff’s Department, pledging to get federal immigration agents out of jails and brandishing his status as a Democrat. He stunned political observers with an upset victory over Sheriff Jim McDonnell — the first time in more than a century that the incumbent was voted out.
But the wave of progressive support that propelled Villanueva into office soon turned against him, as he clashed with county colleagues and left-leaning groups over issues including the size of his budget and what he called “attack dog” oversight groups tasked with monitoring him. In 2022, he became the second incumbent sheriff in a row booted out by voters, losing in a landslide to former Long Beach Police Chief Robert Luna. After he left office, a county oversight panel recommended in 2023 that he not be rehired after finding he discriminated against Inspector General Max Huntsman, The Times reported Wednesday.
The third 4th District candidate will be most familiar to voters of Rancho Palos Verdes, whose population is about 40,000.
After seven years in city leadership — as a council member and as mayor — Cruikshank is looking to make the leap into county politics.
A USC graduate and El Segundo native, Cruikshank argues that his swath of the county needs fresh eyes watching over it. The longtime owner of an engineering firm, Cruikshank says a career spent breaking complex problems into smaller, solvable chunks will help him analyze the biggest issues plaguing the region; namely, homelessness and public safety.