Contra Costa County Sheriff-Coroner David Livingston is poised to serve for a fourth term, defeating a challenge to his seat -- for the first time in his 11-plus years on the job -- from Richmond police union president and county political newcomer Benjamin Therriault.
According to the latest results from the June 7 primary, Livingston stands at 58.77% of the vote, a dip from his Election Night position of 61.6% but still a substantial lead of 36,857 votes with only 7,000-plus ballots left to process, according to county election officials. Therriault, who has worked as an officer and detective in the Richmond Police Department since 2009, sits at 41.23% of the vote.
Livingston had not responded to a request for comment nor issued a public campaign statement in victory as of Tuesday evening.
For his part, Therriault and his campaign have declined to officially concede the race until all remaining ballots are counted.
"Our campaign definitely wants all the ballots counted, and there will be no concession of any kind until they are officially certified," Therriault told DanvilleSanRamon.
In the midst of recent controversy in Livingston's office in the wake of two high-profile deadly police shootings in Danville by now-former sheriff's deputy Andrew Hall, and Livingston's continued support for Hall amidst his conviction for assault and six-year prison sentence, Therriault seemed to have some momentum and support going into his campaign.
The challenger ran on a platform that highlighted police reform and accountability, gaining leverage with a large portion of voters who have been critical and increasingly skeptical of present-day policing practices both locally and nationally.
Livingston, however, had more than a decade of experience on the job, and a history of leading a department that county residents rely on and even more years in law enforcement upper administration, which he emphasized during his campaign.
Prior to being elected as sheriff-coroner in 2010, Livingston served as chief of Pleasant Hill Police Department starting in 2002, then moving on to lead the Concord Police Department in 2005. He began his career as an officer in the Fremont Police Department.
"We have high standards in the office of the sheriff; we hold people accountable regardless of their position; we've got great diversity throughout the agency," Livingston said during a candidates forum moderated by the DanvilleSanRamon editorial team.
"The community universally tells us that they're pleased with the services we provide," Livingston continued. "There are occasional incidents, there was obviously the shooting case in Danville that garnered much attention, but in the meantime the deputies in the field handled over 40,000 calls for service during the same year period."
Livingston also sought to appeal to county voters who have been shaken by high-profile crimes, such as organized retail theft and the ongoing issue of catalytic converter thefts throughout the county, as well as health and safety risks posed by the burgeoning fentanyl crisis.
Livingston was endorsed in his latest campaign against Therriault by local elected officials including District 2 supervisor Candace Andersen, all members of the Danville Town Council, and San Ramon Councilmember Scott Perkins. He also boasted county level endorsements from the Contra Costa Deputy Sheriff's Association, Auditor Robert Campbell, Treasurer Russell Watts, and Assessor Gus Kramer, who also beat off a challenger in the June primary, according to the current ballot count.
The last time Livingston faced a challenger was during his first run for the position in 2010, in which he successfully campaigned against Brian Kalinowski for the seat being vacated by retirement Warren Rupf after 18 years on the job.
With the Contra Costa County Elections Division reporting 7,400 ballots left to process as of Tuesday, Livingston's re-election victory in the June primary would seem certain mathematically. However, Therriault's refusal to concede until results are certified means that an official announcement from his campaign could continue to be pending until as late as July 7, which is the deadline for the county to certify election results.
Regardless, Therriault said that the move was a matter of principle, in highlighting the need to count all votes. Therriault said that his first-ever campaign had already impacted discourse around the sheriff-coroner's role in the way he'd hoped to.
"The campaign has pushed the dial forward," Therriault said. "Statements and promises have been made that I believe will force whomever wins to be held to answer for their conduct in this important elected position."
Following the certification of election results, Livingston is set to be sworn in for his fourth term in office in January, and set to remain in the position through January 2027.