This week we examine the potential “change dynamics” in northeast LA’s CD1 election.
A short history lesson: incumbent Gil Cedillo won election in 2013 to LA CD1 on the strength of naturalized voters, buttressed by both labor and business support owing to Cedillo’s longtime tenure as a state legislator.
Eastside leaders were surprised on March 6 when LA CD1 Councilman Gil Cedillo -the hero of the “CA immigrant driving license” movement- was forced into a run-off with neophyte bicycle-lane advocate Joe Bray Ali. Cedillo barely missed wining outright with 49% of the votes cast. The run-off will be May 16.
Conversely, longtime eastside LAUSD Trustee Monica Garcia cruised to re-election with 58% of the vote. The eastside Council District 14 also heavily voted re-election of incumbent Mayor Eric Garcetti.
Therefore, an “anti-incumbent” trend was not what happened to Cedillo in CD1. Rather what is going may reflect the changing demographics and gentrification of the District.
CD1 (like CD14 and CD13) is rapidly changing as youthful hipsters/millennials colonize the eastside together with developers looking for redevelopment opportunities. The elderly Chican@ homeowner class is beginning to exit the stage either through death or relocation to greener pastures (ie suburbs). This new blend created unforeseen challenges for Cedillo.
But the May 16 runoff odds are in Cedillo’s favor as high propensity voters in CD1 tend to be older, Latin@ and white homeowners that typically favor incumbents in low turnout races. Add to that Cedillo’s unique ability to attract down-scale Mexican and Salvadoran naturalized voters grateful for his generation-long advocacy for immigrants and a winning coalition appears obtainable.
Still Joe Bray-Ali’s challenge represents something new. A younger, mixed-race, bike-lane advocate-challenger trumpeting the accountability song is new for Cedillo. That used to be his tune. Perhaps its generational? More troublesome is that fellow Councilman Mitch O’Farrell endorsed Bray Ali!
All this amounts to a wake-up call for Cedillo, a Rainbow Coalition/Bernie Sanders-progressive. He must mobilize his older Latino voter base while broadening his appeal to millennials to win convincingly on May 16. He knows what to do but it’s time to operationalize.