With the unexpected announcement that Los Angeles Congressman Xavier Becerra will likely become California’s new Attorney General, Democrats in his district are scrambling to see who will run to replace him.
Since Becerra’s Congressional district overlaps a number of Assembly and Senate districts, a few seats in the legislature could shift. Prominent politicians in the district include Sen. Kevin de Leon, Assemblyman Miguel Santiago, Sen. Holly Mitchell, former Assembly Speaker John A. Perez, Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez, and L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti.
Former Speaker Perez was first out of the gate, announcing his candidacy within hours of Becerra’s announcement. He dropped out over the weekend, citing health reasons. He’d already racked up a number of endorsements, including Sen. Mitchell, former L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, state Controller Betty Yee, and Congresswoman Karen Bass.
Gomez, who announced his run a few days later, currently represents about two-thirds of the congressional district in the assembly and was re-elected with 86 percent of the vote. Now that Perez is out of the race Gomez is the clear favorite, and has picked up endorsements from Garcetti, de Leon, and Anthony Rendon.
Three other candidates have officially said they would run for the seat. They are Wendy Carrillo, a local labor activist and former journalist who was brought to the United States illegally from El Salvador as a child; Kenneth Mejia, a Green Party candidate…who previously ran against Becerra in the June election; and Sara Hernandez, a former aide to L.A. City Councilman Jose Huizar.
Three members of the LA City Council, Gil Cedillo, David Ryu, and Jose Huizar, have said they won’t seek the office, but LAUSD school board member Monica Garcia hasn’t made an announcement one way or the other.
As much as 2A activists would love having de Leon out of the State Senate, he has announced that he also won’t seek the seat. This is not surprising, since he has much more power in his Senate role than he would as a freshman Congressman of the minority party.
Gomez has had some issues with telling the truth in the past. In 2015, he skipped his Assembly duties to attend Dodgers Opening Day – and called in sick. His office eventually came clean and said that he wasn’t sick and then changed the paperwork so he wouldn’t collect a per diem for that day off.
Gomez’s record on the Second Amendment is so bad that he was rated as a “Tyrant” on our 2016 Legislative Grades, meaning he authored or supported a “Gunpocalypse” bill and had a clear record supporting civilian disarmament.
Late Tuesday, Arturo Carmona, a “top strategist for Bernie Sanders, “according to the LA Times, threw his hat in the ring but did not announce any endorsements. He served as Latino outreach coordinator for Sanders’ campaign and, though he didn’t mention the group in his press release, could benefit from connections to Our Revolution, a Sanders PAC.
No matter who ends up winning – Gomez or Carmona – it really won’t change anything for California gun owners regarding Congress. It’s difficult to imagine that he could be more of an opponent of the Second Amendment than Becerra has been. Either will have marginal influence as part of the minority party and with a lack of national party name recognition.
But, if Gomez wins, that would leave his Assembly seat open, and leave open the possibility that someone less hostile to the Second Amendment could take his place.
We will continue to monitor this race and keep our supporters informed.