A special election for a vacant House Seat to be held in California this week will see a political outsider go up against a progressive state assemblyman. Voters will have to decide which one of them would make a better member of the US House of Representatives in California’s 34th Congressional District in Los Angeles
The two contestants are Jimmy Gomez from the State Assembly and Robert Lee Ahn, who formerly served as LA’s City Planning Commissioner. One of the two will be replacing Representative Xavier Becerra, who will be moving to his new role as California’s Attorney General on appointment from Governor Jerry Brown. Becerra remained as representative for almost 20 years.
Ahn and Gomez (both, Democrats) have established themselves as the 34th District’s True Representative. The 34th District is known for its predominantly migrant population with a majority of the migrants being of Hispanic origin. It is also the poorest one in the state. California’s “Top Two” primary system typically sees contestants completing a primary phase before heading to the general phase. The ones making it to the general phase will be the “Top Two” from the primary phase, irrespective of which party they belong to.
Gomez and Ahn have already cleared the primaries, where they defeated 21 opposing candidates. Gomez had managed to bag 25% of the votes while Ahn managed to come close with 22% of the votes. As for their campaign personas, Gomez is lining up with an Anti-Trump stance, while Ahn chose to go with “political outsider”. Ahn has gone on to criticize Gomez as being a politician with no scruples who earned money through corporate interests. The political outsider claimed that Gomez had interests in big banking and big pharma in a recent debate between the two. However, as for his own plans, Ahn simply sticks to his rhetoric of owing the people of the 34th District.
Gomez has rubbished the claims, citing several endorsements he received from the likes of Governor Jerry Brown, LA Mayor Eric Garcetti, Becerra, and several other Democratic Leaders. Ahn is Korean-American and therefore, a win would make him the first of his kind to be elected to Congress in two decades and the second in history. In fact, a standard feature in his campaign rhetoric has been the need for a Korean-American voice in Congress. However, Gomez is currently being cast as the frontrunner.