Lead Story Northeast Edition

Race for Becerra’s seat begins to take shape

LOS ANGELES — City Councilman David Ryu announced Dec. 12 that he will not run for the 34th Congressional District seat, expected to be vacated when Rep. Xavier Becerra, D-Los Angeles, is confirmed as the state’s next attorney general.

“I have spent the last several days talking to family, friends and constituents about the future of our communities and our country, and I thank all those who encouraged me to run,” Ryu said in a statement.

“However, after careful thought, it’s even more clear to me that my heart remains here in Los Angeles, in the neighborhoods and schools where I grew up, and with the diverse communities I have the honor of serving. Therefore, I will not seek the 34th Congressional seat.”

Gov. Jerry Brown has appointed Becerra to succeed Kamala Harris, who was elected to the U.S. Senate last month. If confirmed by the state Senate and Assembly — as expected — Becerra will serve the final two years of Harris’ term and become California’s first Latino attorney general.

A special election would be held to fill Becerra’s seat, which represents large parts of Northeast Los Angeles.

Former teacher and nonprofit leader Sara Hernandez announced her candidacy Dec. 13 for the seat and former Los Angeles school board member Yolie Flores joined the race Dec. 16. Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez, D-Los Angeles, journalist Wendy Carrillo and activist Kenneth Mejia had previously declared their intent to run for the seat.

“We need to send a fighter and a doer to Washington with the on-the-ground experience and understanding of how public policy decisions affect everyday Angelenos,” Hernandez said. “As a former middle school teacher, I know how to deal with bullies. With Donald Trump threatening so many of our communities, I’m prepared to stand up and defend our immigrants, our public schools, our environment and our parents’ and grandparents’ retirement security.”

Hernandez has been executive director of Coro Southern California, a national leadership program. She is also a former special counsel to City Councilman Jose Huizar.

On Dec. 10, citing health concerns, former Assembly Speaker John Perez took himself out of the running for the seat. Perez had announced his intention to run on Dec. 1.

Perez emerged as the early favorite to win the seat. By withdrawing from the race, he has opened it up for Gomez, who replaced him in the Assembly.

Gomez already has received endorsements from several key elected officials.

Los Angeles City Councilmen Gil Cedillo and Huizar have both said they are not interested in running.

Gov. Brown has not issued a call for a special election to be held to replace Becerra.