CD4 Councilmember David Ryu is considering a run for Congress, according to press reports in Korean news media and the Beverly Press-Park La Brea News.
Ryu’s spokesman Estevan Montemayor confirmed that Ryu is looking into running for Congressman Xavier Becerra’s seat, representing California’s 34th Congressional District, which overlaps parts of Ryu’s City Council District 4. The district includes the eastern edge of Windsor Square, Ridgewood-Wilton-St. Andrews Square, Wilshire Park and Windsor Village…and also encompasses all of Koreatown, Boyle Heights, City Terrace, Downtown, Eagle Rock, Echo Park, El Sereno, Glassell Park, Highland Park/Garvanza, Historic Filipinotown, Lincoln Heights, Mt. Washington, Montecito Heights, and Westlake/Pico Union.
Becerra has served in the house since 1993. On December 1, 2016, Governor Jerry Brown chosen Becerra as the new Attorney General of California, replacing Kamala Harris, who was elected in November to fill retiring U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer’s seat.
If Ryu decides to run, he would face California Speaker Emeritus John A. Perez, who represented much of the same area while in the State Assembly. Perez has also announced his candidacy, is lining up major endorsements and is generally considered to be the front-runner. Though less politically experienced than Perez, Ryu does have strong support and backing from L.A.’s large Korean community, which is included in Becerra’s current district. Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez (D-Los Angeles) will also run for the seat.
Ryu was the first Korean-American elected to the City Council and took office just over a year ago in June, 2105. If elected to Congress, he would be the second Korean-American to serve.
Ryu is currently in the second year of his five-year city council term. He would not have to resign his Council seat to run for the Congressional seat (though he would have to resign to take the new job if he wins the election). The rules and timing of the potential special election are not yet clear. There is some speculation that to save money, it would be aligned with the March city elections, which will include a mayoral race and elections for half the city council There will also be some hotly contested ballot measures, including the city-wide anti-development measure known as the Neighborhood Integrity Initiative.
Larchmont Buzz Co-Publisher Elizabeth Fuller also contributed to this story.