Rep. Grace Napolitano’s retirement sets off a battle for the coveted San Gabriel Valley seat

Rep. Grace Napolitano’s retirement sets off a battle for the coveted San Gabriel Valley seat

California politics, elections 2024, homepage news

Anabel Sosa

Dec. 19, 2023

In the race to replace retiring Democratic Rep. Grace Napolitano, who has represented parts east and southeast of Los Angeles since Bill Clinton was president, a wealthy outsider will face off against a selection of lesser-known hometown candidates with deep ties have with the San Gabriel Valley Convention Center. neighbourhood.

Former Navy officer, lottery jackpot winner and Orange County Rep. Gil Cisneros hopes to return to Washington, where the Democrat briefly served before being ousted in 2020. Among those trying to stop the former congressman from switching states are two


state senators from the region: Bob Archuleta, a former mayor of Pico Rivera, and former educator Susan Rubio.

The winner of the coveted congressional vacancy will replace a 13-term congressman who leaves a legacy as a strong advocate for environmental protection and mental health care. Napolitano does

just now

one of a handful of U.S. representatives to announce their retirement this year.

Napolitano’s congressional district, which has a high percentage of Latino and Asian American voters, spans San Gabriel Valley and includes the cities of Azusa, Baldwin Park, Bradbury, Covina, Duarte, El Monte, Irwindale, La Puente, La Verne, San Dimas , South El Monte and West Covina, and parts of Glendora, Industry and Monrovia.

Cisneros is a millionaire, thanks to a


$266 million Mega Millions lottery

ticket jackpot

He won in 2010, which brought him into philanthropy and politics. With that money, huh?


self-financed much of his successful 2018 congressional campaign. He spent $9 million in his 2018 bid, the Los Angeles Times previously reported.

During that time, a conservative super PAC was used

sexual harassment

accusation in an attack on Gil Cisneros. The

woman mentioned her claims

a “big misunderstanding” and criticized the advertisements. During Cisneros’ two years in Congress, he was part of a group of freshman colleagues who first introduced impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump. “I took pride in fighting for what was right,” Cisneros told The Times.

Archuleta was elected state member


come into effect in 2018




an old friend of Napolitano, who quickly endorsed it

him in July. Archuleta has focused on veterans issues for most of his career as a lawmaker


as President of the Senate

Commission on

Military and Veterans Affairs



In 2021, a former Capitol staffer filed a lawsuit against Archuleta, accusing him of sexual harassment and retaliation. The case is pending. In an interview with


In the Times, Archuleta said these allegations were made before he successfully fled


re-election to the Senate.

“They didn’t accept it, just like I don’t accept it,” he said. “It hasn’t hindered my re-election and it hasn’t hindered my overwhelming popularity. All the women who have supported me over the years are with me. And that’s why Grace Napolitano is with me.”

Together with Cisneros, Archuleta takes on


a fellow democrat in the legislature who

has served in the California Senate since 2018, representing Baldwin Park. Her legislative priorities are education and the push to criminalize child trafficking.

I represented this community for nine years, so I know very personally and intimately the issues families face, Rubio said


he Times in November, referring to her time as an elected official in Baldwin Park.

Also active is Mary Ann Lutz, a member of the Citrus Community College Board of Trustees and a former member

Monrovia city

Councilor and mayor. She acted as political contact person


Napolitano on water and environmental issues.

“I was kind of an ambassador for her when she came because she didn’t know much about our district,” Lutz said of her relationship with Napolitano when congressional redistricting moved her to the San Gabriel Valley in 2010.

She told The Times she was “shocked” when she heard the congresswoman was endorsing Archuleta.

“I can’t even say what her reasons were,” Lutz said, speculating that Archuleta’s commitment to veterans’ issues might have won Napolitano’s vote. “Congresswoman Napolitano is a very strong woman. When she makes a decision, it’s done. There is no argument.”

With ideological differences barely visible among the top Democratic candidates in the heavily left-leaning district, candidates have resorted to political attacks to gain an advantage.





promoting digital and TV advertising

criticize explosion

Rubio for accepting campaign contributions from the oil industry and others.

Gil Cisneros is using his millions of dollars to lie about Senator Susan Rubio and try to buy a seat in Congress,” said Michael Soneff, a spokesman for Rubio’s campaign. “The claim that Susan Rubio took $3 million from Big Oil, or “Anyone else is an outright lie.”

The Cisneros Campaign



to the FEC, a federal election commission

complaint last month

assertive saying

Rubio embezzled state funds based on a pamphlet that directed Baldwin Park voters to her congressional campaign website.

Soneff said the campaign website was accidentally included and was hired by the company to create the mailer.

In November, Cisneros’ lawyers sent a defamation letter to Rubio’s campaign staff, citing statements about the

2018 revoked

allegations of harassment,

assertive saying

that the charges were dropped, according to a letter obtained by


he Times.

Gregory Hafif, a trial lawyer with no political experience,


raised the most money to date

of any other candidate

, showing FEC registrations from the end of September. From September 30th, hey



just a little more than

$700,000, 70%

which is financed from its own resources

from himself.

So far, the only ones to gain a fundraising lead were the top five Democrats, Archuleta, Cisneros, Rubio, Hafif and Lutz. Collectively, they raised $2.6 million, a rare number seen so early in a significantly safe Democratic district. Cisneros has raised

just over

$612,000 and has spent

under less than

half of that. Archuleta spent the second highest amount, about $133,000.

In total, there are six Democrats, three Republicans and two non-party members running for the seat.


Sadwani Sadhwani

a Pomona College politics professor who focuses on voter behavior


said she is interested to see how the battles among top-level Democrats in the race “play out with voters on the ground.”

“Overall, having more candidates in the primaries is a healthy thing for democracy and representation, and it creates additional options for voters,” she said. “Even if they have no chance of winning, they can change the scope of the conversation.”

The primaries will take place in early March. The two top candidates do

go ahead already


challenge each other

the general election next fall.


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