Early Voting Begins For 34th District Congressional Election
Early voting began Saturday for the special election to replace California Attorney General Xavier Becerra's congressional seat. The 34th District has been without a congressman since the end of January, when Becerra was sworn in as the new Attorney General. Constituents could vote early at 4 locations, and also had the option to drop off mail-in ballots. The official election is Tuesday, with 23 different candidates on the ballot. This is the first congressional race since President Trump's inauguration.
Becerra represented the 34th District for 24 years before accepting his new post as Attorney General. The District stretches from Koreatown to Eagle Rock, and includes parts of downtown, Lincoln Heights, Highland Park, and other communities. The candidates are mostly Democrats, as noted by KPCC, with more women running than men. Most of the candidates have never run for political office before, and immigration is a top priority, according to the LA Times. LA Weekly has noted many candidates present themselves as opponents to Donald Trump. Candidate Sara Hernandez has a television ad where she asks, "How do you stand up to a bully?"
The prevalence of Democrats in the election means the contest will occur more between progressives and establishment Democrats, similar to the Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton divide during the primaries last year. The district narrowly favored Sanders over Clinton in the 2016 primaries, as the LA Times recently pointed out, and many of the candidates felt inspired to run after hearing Sanders' politics. This progressive/establishment divide isn't the only influence on the election, however; a strong campaign push for Robert Lee Ahn among the Korean American community also represents a possible unexpected outcome for the election.
Election day polls open at 7 AM on Tuesday.