'It's time to get tough on hate,' says Asif Mahmood, launching campaign for lieutenant governor
Asif Mahmood, a Democrat and Muslim doctor from Los Angeles, on Wednesday announced his run for California lieutenant governor – with fighting President Donald Trump the centerpiece of his campaign.
“As a Muslim immigrant from the great blue state of California, I’ll be a triple threat to Donald Trump,” Mahmood said at a press conference outside Immigration and Customs Enforcement headquarters downtown Los Angeles. “I’m running for office to fight against him, and to fight for our families.”
Mahmood, a political newcomer, is the second candidate to officially join the 2018 race for lieutenant governor.
Democratic state Sen. Ed Hernandez, chair of the Senate Health Committee and a doctor himself, is also running to succeed Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, who is running for governor in 2018. Unlike Mahmood, Hernandez isn’t positioning himself as a counterbalance to Trump.
Mahmood, from a small village in Pakistan, said he came to America to become a doctor. He said health care, education and fighting Trump are his top three campaign issues.
“I wanted to live in America because of my children. I wanted them to grow up in place that celebrates diversity and tolerance,” he said. “Donald Trump continues to attack people like me – immigrants and people of color and Muslims. I say President Trump has it all wrong. It’s time to get tough on hate. California must be the leader of the Trump resistance and I will fight every step of the way.”
If elected, Mahmood would be the first Muslim to hold statewide office, said Danna Elneil, a representative for the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
“We’re not 100 percent sure whether he’s the first Muslim to run...but he’d definitely be the highest-ranking Muslim elected in the state,” Elneil said.
A host of other California politicians – some currently in office and others seeking public office – have opened committees to raise campaign cash but have not entered the lieutenant governor’s race.
Senate leader Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles, has a campaign committee but he has expressed no interest in running for the low-profile position.
Angela Hart: 916-326-5528, @ahartreports