#Democrat involved in LA racism scandal running for reelection

A Los Angeles city councilman involved in a racism scandal last year announced Wednesday he would seek reelection, despite pressures from colleagues to resign. 

In a statement Wednesday, Kevin de León said he would seek another term after making “unprecedented strides” in his district, which runs through downtown Los Angeles, The Associated Press (AP) reported.

De León said he has been working on the city’s homeless crisis and relativizing parks and public spaces, per The AP. 

Campaign financial disclosures with Los Angeles City show de Leon as a candidate for the 14th District, though no contributions have been filed. 

A former state Senate leader, de León made headlines last year after a recording of conversation from October 2021 between de León, former council member Gil Cedillo, former President Nury Martinez and former L.A. County Labor Federation President Ron Herrera was leaked first on Reddit and later reported by the Los Angles Times. 

Martinez was heard on the recording saying numerous racist comments, including saying that L.A. District Attorney George Gascón is “with the Blacks” and calling certain Mexican immigrants in the city’s Koreatown “short, dark people.” 

The recording also revealed the group’s discussions over limiting the voting power of Black residents and increasing that of Latinos through redistricting. 

Martinez resigned as council president and from her seat while Herrera stepped down amid the backlash from the recording. 

De León and Cedillo apologized for the conversation but refused to resign. Cedillo lost a reelection bid last year, ending his term in December.

De León’s return to the council chambers after a two-month hiatus reportedly prompted protests in the meeting room as well as social media posts from fellow council members who pushed back against his return. 

State Assemblyman Miguel Santiago, who is also running in the 14th District, called for de León to resign and not seek another term, The AP reported. 

“Enough is enough,” Santiago said, per The AP. “While he has been consumed with scandal, he has failed his district. … The people want change.” 

Ysabel Jurado, a tenant rights attorney running in the 14th district, responded to de León’s reelection bid Wednesday, telling a reporter with the L.A. Daily News that de León has been a “distraction” in the district over the past year.

As of Wednesday, campaign finance filings show a total of 11 candidates running for de León’s seat.

The primary election is set for March 5, 2024. 

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