Last year’s resignation of former state Sen. Rod Wright following his conviction for lying about where he lived as a candidate in 2008 put a spotlight on politicians’ residency, but perhaps no more so than in Los Angeles County.
Now state Sen. Isadore Hall, the Compton Democrat who succeeded Wright, is using the issue in a new web ad to hit Nanette Barragán, a former Hermosa Beach councilwoman and Hall’s rival to succeed Rep. Janice Hahn, D-Los Angeles.
“My dream of buying a home in Hermosa came true five years ago,” Barragán says in a 2013 council candidate video featured in the Hall ad. Hermosa Beach’s eastern boundary is six miles from the western limit of the 44th Congressional District.
Unlike legislative candidates, people running for Congress do not need to live in the district they seek to represent. Still, a candidate’s geographic ties to a district – or lack thereof – have been a well-used campaign hit. During last year’s race for Northern California’s 4th Congressional District, Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Elk Grove, faced repeated criticism that Elk Grove is outside the district.
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The Hall ad presents Hermosa Beach as a symbol of beach-front luxury far removed from the lives of people in the 44th, where about one-quarter of people live in poverty according to the most recent census estimates.
“Nanette Barragán got her dream. We need a member of Congress who will help us get ours,” a narrator says over footage of Hall talking to a group of people.
Yet Hermosa Beach isn’t the only thing in the ad outside of the district. As the ad’s narrator explains, “In the 44th congressional district, we dream about better jobs,” at least two of the photos shown are stock images of people, including one described as “Hispanic woman in New York City.”
Michael Trujillo, Barragán’s campaign manager, said Barragán resigned from the Hermosa Beach council in July and moved to San Pedro, inside the 44th. He noted that she was raised in Carson, inside the district.
“My opponent has been attacking me and that’s fine. I’m used to special interest politicians trying to shout me down,” Barragán said in a statement.