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L.A. Councilman Jose Huizar Considering A Run For Becerra's Congressional Seat

Jose Huizar in 2011 (Photo by josehuizar via Flickr)
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Los Angeles City Councilman Jose Huizar is mulling a possible run for Rep. Xavier Becerra's soon-to-be-vacated U.S. Congressional seat, according to a statement from Huizar's office.

The L.A. Times reports that Huizar aide Rick Coca released a statement Friday saying that the councilman was discussing a possible run with his wife.

Governor Jerry Brown named Becerra as his choice for state attorney general on Thursday, meaning that Becerra's 34th Congressional District will be vacant if and when Becerra is confirmed. Becerra would be serving the final two years in the term of fellow Democrat and current state AG Kamala Harris. Harris was elected to the U.S. Senate last month, setting the whole game of political musical chairs into motion.

Becerra's seat will be filled during a special election likely to take place sometime early next year, according to the L.A. Times.

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The 34th Congressional District is heavily Democratic and nearly two-thirds Latino, according to the Sacramento Bee. The district, which includes downtown Los Angeles, Koreatown, and parts of northeast L.A., is relatively compact and highly urban. The Bee reports that it overlaps with districts represented by several state and local politicians, including Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez, Huizar and fellow L.A. City Councilman Gil Cedillo.

Former Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez was the first to get into the race, announcing his candidacy less than an hour after Brown announced that he was appointing Becerra to the AG role. The district Pérez represented while serving in the state assembly overlaps with large swaths of the 34th.

Pérez has already racked up a number of prominent endorsements, including support from Democratic Rep. Karen Bass and former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, according to Roll Call.

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Huizar, whose district includes downtown and Boyle Heights, took office in 2005 and is currently serving his third and final City Council term. The Zacatecas native made history as the first Mexican immigrant elected to City Council in L.A. history. He's known for his work on downtown revitalization projects, including the Bringing Back Broadway initiative, which he created in 2008. He has also championed green space initiatives, and pushed for the creation of more parks and "parklets" downtown. The councilman drew controversy in 2013, when he was sued by his former deputy chief of staff on sexual harassment charges. Huizar denied the charges and said it had been a consensual affair; the suit was eventually settled at no cost to the city.

State Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez (whose assembly district overlaps with two-thirds of the congressional district, according to the L.A. Times) has also said that he is considering a bid for the seat. Los Angeles Unified School District Board member Mónica García is another potential contender. The field will likely be crowded, but, as Roll Call noted, Huizar "may start with the highest name recognition and has proven to be a strong fundraiser."