Another Democratic Lawmaker Won’t Seek Re-election
On Monday, Representative Tony Cárdenas (D-CA) announced that he won’t be running for re-election in 2024, setting up what could become a contested race for his heavily Democratic San Fernando Valley-based seat.
Rep. Tony Cárdenas became the latest House lawmaker to opt against running for reelection, opening a deep-blue seat in California.https://t.co/EbB4PIioW1
— POLITICO (@politico) November 20, 2023
Cardenas, who was the first Latino to represent the district, said he plans to leave Washington at the end of his term, capping three decades in public office.
From the Los Angeles Times:
“It will be the first time in 28 years that I’m not on the ballot,” Cárdenas said in a Thursday interview. “The truth of the matter is I thought I could do this just for a few years … I’m just at the age where I have enough energy and experience to maybe do something [different] and have another chapter of a career where I don’t have to go to Washington, D.C., 32 weeks out of the year.”
Cárdenas’ announcement is unlikely to threaten Democrats’ quest to reclaim the House majority. His district, which spans much of the San Fernando Valley, is solidly blue. But his departure creates opportunities for ambitious young Democrats from the Los Angeles area to come to Washington. Cárdenas is backing Luz Rivas, a state Assembly member who told The Times she would run to replace him.
— Eduardo Rodriguez (@EduardoRoo) November 21, 2023
“Luz is a genuine public servant who has dedicated herself to delivering opportunities for the Valley,” Cárdenas said. “She gets things done, and has always put working families first. I am proud to support Luz for Congress.”
Rivas, a native to the Valley, won her Assembly seat in 2018. If elected to Congress, she would be the first Latina to represent the district in Washington.
Cárdenas said the lack of nonwhite representation among people in power was a main reason he first ran for public office. Not having role models of color can stifle nonwhite kids’ ambitions for greatness, he said.
“Our teachers, counselors, police officers, would look at us and say you’re never gonna amount to anything,” he said. “I don’t think anyone with those titles should ever tell a child you’re never going to mount anything. But we all experienced that crap, that garbage, those lies.”
In a statement, California Sen. Alex Padilla lauded Cárdenas for running “for office at a time when Latinos didn’t see ourselves represented in positions of power.”
“His decision to enter public service and his approach to politics opened the door for many others to follow, including many who couldn’t have imagined running for office, including myself,” California’s senior Democratic senator said.
.@RepCardenas came up at a time when Latinos didn’t see ourselves represented in positions of power. His career opened the door and helped so many others walk through––including me.
— Senator Alex Padilla (@SenAlexPadilla) November 20, 2023