Cisneros, Kim vie for local congressional seat in D.C.

New candidates compete to fill the 39th District seat after Congressman Ed Royce’s retirement.

Two years into a conservative presidency, many Democrats are hoping for a blue wave in the House of Representatives this November. With the retirement of Republican incumbent Ed Royce, California’s 39th District has become highly contested, with supporters of Democrat Gil Cisneros hoping to close the gap in the historically red district.

The 39th District encompasses suburban towns in the outer Los Angeles area, including Diamond Bar, Brea, Yorba Linda, Chino Hills, Hacienda Heights and Rowland Heights. In the June primaries, Republican candidate Young Kim received 21.9 percent of the vote, pitting her against Cisneros, who received 19.3 percent of the vote.

The district has stayed largely Republican since 1973, with only one Democratic representative serving from 2003 to 2013. Since 2013, Royce has maintained the representative position.

Despite its history, the district is considered a highly competitive swing region in the midterms, with 51 percent of the district having voted for Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton over Republican Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election.

While neither House candidates have high name recognition in the region, Kim has been more well received, with polls showing a 10 point lead over Cisneros. The candidate has also been endorsed by Royce.

After receiving over $500,000 from the Congressional Leadership Fund, Kim has run multiple attack advertisements about  Cisneros.

Many of these ads reference a statement released in May by politician Melissa Fazli, claiming Cisneros inappropriately suggested that he visit her hotel room.

Fazli withdrew her accusation on Oct. 1, citing a misunderstanding between the two that was cleared up when Cisneros reached out to her after witnessing the Kavanaugh hearing.

Former President Barack Obama endorsed Cisneros at a rally in September, and the Democratic Congressional Campaign added the district to its “Red to Blue” program.

Cisneros has run his own campaign advertisements, advertising Obama’s endorsement.

With a 61 percent non-white population, the district is also largely affected by the issue of immigration, giving Cisneros a lead among the Latino and Asian-American communities.  On his website, Cisneros emphasizes his protection of DACA and his support of keeping families together.

As an Asian-American immigrant, Kim said in an interview with CNN that she doesn’t align with President Trump’s rhetoric.

However, security at the border and legality of immigrants is an issue that Kim has emphasized on both her website and Twitter.

The candidates also disagree on issues such as tax cuts and LGBT treatment. Kim has faced controversy for her criticism of the School Success and Opportunity Act, which provides guidance to transgender students.

Despite their differing views, both candidates identify as more moderate on the political spectrum, with Cisneros focusing on supporting the military in his platform, and Kim disagreeing with Trump on multiple issues.

Midterms will take place on Nov. 6. Students over the age of 18 can vote, and anyone over the age of 16 can pre register.

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