Thursday, December 04, 2008

CA-31: Rep. Becerra May Join Obama Admin

My congressperson, U.S. Representative Xavier Becerra is widely reported as having been offered the cabinet-level position of U.S. Trade Representative in the incoming Obama Administration.

If so, his Congressional seat, which would be one of the most coveted political positions in Los Angeles since they are not subject to term limits, would become available in a special election in early 2009, possibly as soon as March (to coincide with the Mayoral election). This would set off a feeding frenzy among Latino politicians in L.A.:

Potential candidates are jockeying to run for Xavier Becerra's congressional seat as word spreads that President-elect Barack Obama is considering him as U.S. trade representative.

Names include Los Angeles County Supervisor Gloria Molina, state Sen. Gil Cedillo and Los Angeles City Council President Eric Garcetti, each of whom represents parts of Becerra's district, which includes the heart of Los Angeles.

"I am definitely considering it," said Cedillo, who has represented the area for the last decade as an assemblyman and senator.

"I am beginning the process of consulting people who have supported me over the years, including my family," he said.

Cedillo, who has significant labor ties, has become most identified with efforts to help illegal immigrants obtain driver's licenses. He said that if he were elected to the House of Representatives, he would use it as a "platform to bring immigrants into our society."

Garcetti said it was premature to speculate on a possible run but did not rule it out.

Molina could not be reached for comment.

Other possible candidates include Assemblymen Kevin de Leon and John Perez.

Becerra ran against Villaraigosa for Mayor in 2001 although I am not sure if he is affiliated permanently with the Molina wing of the Latino Political Elite. I believe that Molina would have an easy time of winning, but for progressive Eric Garcetti would be my choice.

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