A campaign flier sent out by a candidate in the April 4 special election to fill a Los Angeles City Council seat in the San Fernando Valley is drawing criticism from the chair of the Los Angeles County Democratic Party.
Candidate Marco Santana recently distributed door hangers that say he is endorsed by the “Democratic Party,” according to a filing with the city made by his campaign.
“Looking at that — ‘Democratic Party’ — it’s completely misleading,” county Democratic Party Chair Mark Gonzalez said in an interview Thursday. “It’s not accurate. Unfortunately, the [other] campaigns have a right to be upset.”
The county Democratic Party didn’t endorse in the Council District 6 race because no candidate garnered enough votes.
Scott Mann, Santana’s communications director, defended the flier and said it is not misleading. He added “there is no need” to change any future pieces sent out by the campaign.
He said Santana is backed by various Democratic clubs, including the Democratic Party of the San Fernando Valley, which is a coordinating body for a coalition of clubs.
Responding to rival candidates’ criticisms of the hanger, Mann said, “It’s unfortunate that anyone would make such a desperate attempt to diminish Marco’s overwhelming Democratic support.”
Gonzalez said that Andrés Molina, the county party’s executive director, contacted Santana’s campaign manager, Jonathan Herrera, about the flier Thursday. Herrera told Molina that the mailer was “old” and sent out about two weeks ago, according to Gonzalez.
Herrera also told Molina that other Santana campaign mail going out now specifies that the Democratic Party of the San Fernando Valley has endorsed Santana, according to Gonzalez.
Under city ethics laws, all campaign communications sent by a campaign to 200 or more people must be filed with the city with 24 hours of distribution.
Imelda Padilla, who is also running in the Council District 6 race, called Santana “very slick.”
“If you have a club, mention the club,” said Padilla, referring to Democratic-affiliated clubs. “You can’t tell people you have the endorsement of the Democratic Party.”
Mann, Santana’s communications director, said Herrera, the campaign manager, wasn’t available for an interview about his call with the party official.
He also said that there was “no contradiction” between his response to The Times and Herrera’s answers to the L.A. County Democratic Party.
“We just got these door hangers in, so I’m not sure where the two-week time frame is coming from as it’s not correct,” Mann said. “We abide by ethics rules.”
Santana is one of seven candidates running to fill the council seat left vacant by Councilmember Nury Martinez’s resignation.
Santana, who works at L.A. Family Housing, has the endorsement of Councilmember Nithya Raman as well as The Times editorial board, which is independent from the news department.
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