Capitol Alert

Muslim doctor enters race for California lieutenant governor, vows to fight Trump

'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, announced his run for California lieutenant governor outside Immigration and Customs Enforcement headquarters downtown Los Angeles on Wednesday. He is running against state Sen. Ed Herna
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Asif Mahmood, a Democrat and Muslim doctor from Los Angeles, announced his run for California lieutenant governor outside Immigration and Customs Enforcement headquarters downtown Los Angeles on Wednesday. He is running against state Sen. Ed Herna

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

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