Los Angeles Councilman Running For Reelection Following Racist Audio Leak

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A Los Angeles city councilman is running for reelection despite calls for his resignation after he was heard making racist comments in an audio that leaked last year.

According to the New York Times, Kevin de León announced on Wednesday (September 20) that he would be running for another four-year term in 2024.

"I could have, you know, put my head in the sand and acted like there's no room for improvement. There's no room to look deeper inside, but I didn't do that," De León told KABC. "I engaged with a lot of folks in the religious community, other community leaders, and it was a process. It's a journey, and quite frankly, it's not a process that's necessarily over. It's a journey that may take years, but it's a process nonetheless, and I think I've become a better person because of it."

The announcement comes after audio leaked in October 2022 of a conversation between De León, fellow council member Gil Cedillo, Los Angeles County Federation of Labor President Ron Herrera, and then-city council president Nury Martinez.

At one point during the conversation, De León claimed his white colleague displayed his Black son like a luxury handbag. He also failed to challenge racist remarks made by Martinez, who called the Black boy a monkey and said he needed a "beatdown."

Protests ensued outside of De León's home, calling for his resignation after the audio leak. Even President Joe Biden denounced the audio and urged the councilmembers to step down.

De León will run up against California State Assemblymembers Miguel Santiago and Wendy Carrillo in the March primary.

Santiago said in a statement: "Enough is enough. People are hurting. Kevin de León's participation in the racist tapes scandal was so extreme that everybody from local constituents to President Biden called for him to resign. Councilmember de León should not be announcing his re-election today; he should be announcing his resignation."

"He has been removed from all of his committee assignments in city council," Carrillo said. "He does not have the support of his current colleagues on council. He is not a partner to our mayor in solving some of the city's biggest issues."

The primary election is set for March 5.

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