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Congressional Special Election (CA-37) Pits Black vs Latino vs Queer Communities

The Los Angeles Times reports that the filing deadline has passed for the 37th Congressional district special election to fill the seat of recently deceased U.S. Representative Juanita Millender-McDonald and a slew of people have made the cut. This race is to represent a district which has large pockets of African American, Latino and queer individuals.

Nineteen candidates have filed nomination papers to be on the ballot in a June 26 special election in the 37th Congressional District.


State Sen. Jenny Oropeza (D-Long Beach), Assemblywoman Laura Richardson (D-Long Beach) and Valerie McDonald, Millender-McDonald’s daughter, are considered the front-runners in the race to represent the district that encompasses Compton, Carson, much of Long Beach and parts of South L.A.

The other candidates are Democrats Lee Davis, Mervin Evans, Felicia Ford, Bill Francisco Grisolia, Peter Mathews, George A. Parmer Jr., Jeffrey S. Price and Ed Wilson; Republicans Leroy Joseph “L.J.” Guillory, John M. Kanaley, Jeffrey “Lincoln” Leavitt, Gwen Patrick and Teri Ramirez; Daniel Abraham Brezenoff of the Green Party; Herb Peters, a Libertarian; and Al Salehi Agassi, an Independent.

A final list of candidates will be released after the Los Angeles County registrar-recorder verifies signatures submitted by candidates. Each candidate is required to submit 40 valid signatures. If no candidate gets more than 50% of the vote, a runoff between the top candidates in each party will be held Aug. 21.

However today the leading candidate Richardson was blasted as being homophobic by openly gay State Senator Sheila J. Kuehl who has endorsed her colleague State Senator Jenny Oropeza for the open congressional seat. Kuehl is referring to an unfortunate incident in 1996 when Richardson was running against openly lesbian Gerrie Schipske for a Long Beach area State Assembly seat and sent a mailer during her losing campaign for the Democratic nomination in which she claimed that Schipske was “committed to the radical gay agenda” and “strongly backed by ultra-liberal Santa Monica Assemblymember Sheila Kuehl, the Assembly’s only openly gay member.” Schipske decided over the weekend NOT to enter the race for the 37th district Congressional seat.

As Jasmyne Cannick was quoted in the Capitol Weekly article (“Kuehl slams Richardson in 37th C.D; Schipske out“) saying “Richardson is not homophobic. Ten years ago was 10 years ago, and a lot can happen in that span of time, including education and new sense of right and wrong. Ten years ago, Richardson looked at things differently as it related to the gay community and in that 10 years, she’s changed.”

As far as MadProfessah can discern, Richardson is not a co-sponsor of any of the California LGBT community’s major legislative priorities in the State Legislature: Mark Leno‘s AB 43 (Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act) or Kuehl’s SB 777 (Student Civil Rights Act) or John Laird‘s AB 14 (Civil Rights Act of 2007). A lack of such sponsorship does not mean that she’s homophobic, but since most of the Democratic caucus is signed on to all or at least one of these pieces of legislation it is significant that Richardson’s name is nowhere to be seen, especially considering she represents a district which is putting on the third largest gay and lesbian pride celebration in the country this weekend.

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