oyle Heights residents cast their votes at Pico-Aliso Recreational Center. / Photo by Jonathan Olivares

Boyle Heights voters will take to the polls Tuesday for a special election that will determine who will represent the Eastside neighborhood and other parts of Los Angeles in Congress. A crowded field of 24 candidates are competing to replace Xavier Becerra in the 34th congressional district. Becerra left the office to become State Attorney General after California’s former top lawyer Kamala Harris was elected to the U.S. Senate.

It’s unlikely that any of the 24 candidates will get the more than 50% of the votes needed to win the election, which means a runoff among the top two candidates on June 6 is probable.

News outlets are naming State Assemblyman and Eagle Rock resident Jimmy Gómez as the front-runner in the special election. Gomez has garnered the endorsements of many people in the Democratic Party including Becerra himself. His campaign website lists Harris, LA County Supervisor Hilda Solís, and LA Mayor Eric Garcetti among a plethora of Democratic establishment supporters.

At least three candidates with ties to Boyle Heights are in the race.

Wendy Carillo, who announced her candidacy last year, is a former journalist and labor activist who was brought to the United States illegally from El Salvador as a child. She is running on a platform that supports a $15 per hour minimum wage and opposes the anti-immigrant rhetoric of President Trump. Carillo grew up in City Terrace.

Maria Cabildo, who was once dubbed the “patron saint of Boyle Heights,” is also in the race. One of the four founders of the East Los Angeles Community Corporation (ELACC), Cabildo has been endorsed by the Los Angeles Times. Born and raised where City Terrace meets Boyle Heights, she has been a longtime advocate for affordable housing. Cabildo also served for two years on LA’s Planning Commission.

Boyle Heights resident Arturo Carmona, who ran Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign’s Latino outreach division before becoming its deputy political director last year, says on his website that his agenda “has consistently been to advance a progressive issue agenda and more representative form of government.” On Friday he denied accusations of sexism in the workplace leveled at him by a former staffer.

The 34th district includes parts of Boyle Heights, Highland Park, Chinatown and other parts of east and northeast Los Angeles.

Kyle Garcia

Kyle García is a former web editor with Boyle Heights Beat.

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