Rep. Tony Cárdenas became the latest House lawmaker to opt against running for reelection, his spokesperson confirmed Monday, opening a deep-blue seat in California.
Trained as an electrical engineer, he rose up through the California Assembly and the Los Angeles City Council before coming to Congress, where he’s represented his San Fernando Valley-area district since 2013. He won plaudits in the House Democratic Caucus for his tenure as the head of BOLD PAC, the Hispanic Caucus’ political arm, turning the organization into a fundraising powerhouse.
But his attempts to rise through Democratic leadership were stymied last year after House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries tapped Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-Wash.) to run the DCCC. Lawmakers had just voted to allow leadership to appoint the position, rather than decide it via caucus election. Cárdenas and Rep. Ami Bera (D-Calif.) had been the two declared candidates publicly vying for the position.
Cárdenas told the LA Times, which earlier reported his announcement, that he would back California State Assemblywoman Luz Rivas to succeed him in the safely Democratic district.
Jeffries praised Cárdenas for his service and efforts to recruit more Latino candidates in a statement, adding that he’d be missed in Congress.
“While Tony is the first Latino to represent the San Fernando Valley, he has made it his mission not to be the last. As a leader within the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, he’s been instrumental in increasing the number of Latinos serving in Congress to a record level,” Jeffries said.