Democrat Amanda Renteria, the former Hillary Clinton campaign official who last week shocked the establishment with her surprise filing for California governor, cast her campaign Monday as an effort to break a calcified political order with “joy and hope.”
“I think we need an inspiration, new leaders and new faces at the table,” Renteria told The Sacramento Bee, her first interview since filing to run.
After working as Clinton’s political director in 2016, and then in the California Attorney General’s Office, Renteria said this unprecedented time, where the nation’s institutions are under threat, calls for changes to the political landscape.
“Our politics has got to be different than it is right now,” she added, “and the only way we do that is with new leaders who have been committed to this work for a really long time.”
Renteria, a longtime aide to U.S. senators whose only other run came for Congress in 2014, had been mostly silent about her campaign until Monday, aside from a few tweets. She said the plan had been to launch on March 1, but after the filing with the state went public she received a flood of supportive messages and decided to jump out earlier.
“We’ve got plenty of time,” she said of the run-up to the June primary.
On Monday, she released a website and video, along with a six-page bio and a news release that rationalized her run against some of the state’s best-known Democrats, including Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.
In The Bee interview, she dismissed as a “ “Trump-like conspiracy theory” the changes coming mostly from Villaraigosa’s camp that she entered the race to help draw Central Valley and Latino votes away from Villaraigosa.
Renteria added that the charge alone is a commentary on the sad state of politics, but that she was inundated with direct messages on social media and emails from supporters who encouraged her: “It’s pretty normal that when a woman takes a courageous act, it must be because somebody else put her up to it,’” Renteria said they told her.
“What I have to say is, all the folks who DM’d me, I am inspired by the fact that there is a whole set of new leaders out there waiting, who are going to themselves step up, who aren’t going to be told when and how to do things,” she said.
“In that sense I went from thinking it was funny to being disappointed to being inspired by the whole entire process of that.”