Larry Elder, the leading Republican candidate to replace California Governor Gavin Newsom in the recall election, stopped in Downey on the last week of the campaign. His supporters gathered at New Season L.A. Downey church on Paramount, Ave, and Political Life has learned that several Southeast L.A. politicians were among the attendees.
Noted activist Patty S. Chavez caught Whittier Mayor Joe Vinatieri and Council Member Jessica Martinez in the audience. Martinez is widely known for suing Newsom for his support for undocumented workers, as well as for her attendance at Trump’s attempted insurrection. Vinatieri notably declined to vote for the censure of Martinez for her attendance when the issue came before the Whittier City Council.
Also in attendance were Cudahy’s Council Member Jack Guerrero, often criticized by community members for his support of charter schools and attacks on public education. Guerrero's views on education seem to be highly similar to Elder's.
Downey’s own Mayor Claudia Frometa, although she was not on stage, took to the microphone and said “Good evening Larry. Welcome to the City of Downey. We believe we need a change in California, don’t we Downey?” (Audio courtesy of National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference).
Despite the showing of supportive local politicians, Elder was met with considerable community opposition. Downey City Council candidate Juan Martinez organized a protest alongside Downey Progressive Democrats outside the church, and Cudahy community advocate Edin Enamorado protested Elder inside the hall. Enamorado posted footage to his Instagram of him walking up to the stage and shouting “Larry Elder you’re a con artist!”. He then joined the protest outside the church.
Political Life notes that, despite the high-profile nature of the event, Fox 11 footage shows many seats inside the church were empty. While Elder is widely expected to lose throughout Los Angeles County, the empty seats suggest he may lose the "conservative" City of Downey as well.
Political Life is a collective of citizen-journalists in Southeast Los Angeles County.