Anaheim Councilman Jordan Brandman announced yesterday that he is quitting his campaign for the U.S. Congressional seat being vacated by Loretta Sanchez.
In a statement published by The Liberal OC and Anaheim Blog, two political blogs friendly with Brandman and other members of the Disneyland-backed Anaheim council majority, Brandman said he’s dropping out of the race to focus more on his work as a councilman.
“I have decided that there are still a great many things I would like to help accomplish for the residents of Anaheim,” the statement reads. “For the remainder of my term on the Anaheim City Council, I look forward to bolstering critical infrastructure, helping our families feel safer in their neighborhoods, and successfully implementing the City’s new city council district plan.”
Brandman’s decision to leave the race comes after a particularly rough few weeks for him politically. The only Democrat on Anaheim’s council, he’s been accused by many of joining a Republican council majority in continuing to disenfranchise the city’s Latino residents just as they were about to be empowered by a new electoral system.
As the council transitions from at-large council elections to by-district elections, Brandman joined councilwomen Kris Murray and Lucille Kring in a vote to exclude the only majority Latino district from electing a representative in 2016, opting instead to have the district wait until 2018 for a representative.
The move enraged Latino activists, who argued that it undermined the spirit of a legal settlement between the city and three Latinos who sued the city. They argued the city’s at-large elections prevented Latinos from electing candidates of their choice and thus violated the state’s Voting Rights Act.
Brandman and other members of the council majority said the move was necessary to allow a district on the city’s west end that hasn’t had representation in many years to have a representative sooner rather than later.
But after intense pressure levied on Brandman, with his own local party’s central committee condemning the vote and calling on him to change it, he came up with a fix that only triggered more outrage. He proposed scrapping the approved districts map, known as “The People’s Map” because of its broad community support, and led the council majority in restarting the hearing process to choose a new map.
Over 300 protesters showed up at the council meeting this week in response to the decision. After Brandman and the council majority refused to overturn their vote, protesters shouted down the meeting and forced the mayor to adjourn it early.
With Brandman out of the race, the race whittles down to three candidates, including Garden Grove Mayor Bao Nguyen, and former state senators Lou Correa and Joe Dunn.