Running with little or no opposition, three members of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors easily won re-election Tuesday and further strengthened their hold on power.
Voter-imposed term limits, however, means this will be the final term for Supervisors Michael Antonovich and Don Knabe, who have served since 1980 and 1996, respectively.
Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, who joined the board in 2008, is eligible to remain in office until 2020.
Dan Schnur, director of the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics at USC, said it is "almost impossible" to defeat incumbent supervisors because the county's districts are massive - each has about two million constituents spread out over a large geographic area - and challengers would need to raise enormous sums of money to mount a successful campaign.
"I think this was one of the primary motivations for the passage of term limits," he said.
"It wasn't because voters were unhappy with the job they felt their supervisors were doing, but rather because they wanted to see fresh perspective and new voices from time to time."
Voters will have an opportunity to choose fresh faces in 2014, when term limits force Supervisors Zev Yaroslavsky and Gloria Molina to step down.
By the time Antonovich and Knabe depart in 2016, they will have served 36 and 20 years, respectively.
Knabe, who ran unopposed, said all that experience has created stability and enabled the county to survive the economic crisis relatively unscathed and withstand "all the partisan battles in Sacramento and Washington D.C." to serve as the "ultimate safety net for our constituents."
Antonovich's challenger was businessman Raj Pal Kahlon of Palmdale, who ran a low-key, underfunded campaign.
The supervisor said during his last term, he will "build on our past successes to solve problems and develop initiatives to address the issues that impact the lives of the 10 million Los Angeles County residents."
Ridley-Thomas, who also ran unopposed, said he plans to work on opening a new Martin Luther King, Jr. Hospital, among other projects.
"We will continue to press our agenda of empowerment that includes jobs, access to quality health care, public safety reform, traffic congestion relief and environmental stewardship," he said.