California Sen. Alex Padilla is campaigning hard — just not for himself.
Easing into the Senate race to replace former Lt. Gov. Abel Henao, the 40-year-old state Sen. has been spending the past few weeks courting Latino voters who tend to support Democrats.
Padilla has made appearances at Latino news conferences and a community center, where he and a Latino activist discussed health care and other issues.
Padilla, a Democrat, says he wants to talk to young people about his opposition to the Trump administration’s immigration policies. He also has visited churches and high schools with Latino youth who are engaged in his campaign.
“I don’t have a specific platform yet, but there are a lot of issues I’m pushing to help the Latino community and the immigrant community,” said Padilla, who is finishing a master’s degree at UCLA.
Padilla’s presence in the Latino voter community will become evident when he addresses the state Latino community next week in South Gate, the Los Angeles suburb where he was born and where his family has vacationed for the past 13 years.
Padilla also has been making calls for support and is working to build relationships with party leaders, including then-state Treasurer Josh Penry, the Democratic Party’s executive director, state Treasurer John Chiang and Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom.
Padilla’s campaign isn’t yet announcing its endorsement process — but he and state Sen. Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens, are supporting the campaign of fellow state Sen. Bill Monning, D-Carmel Valley, who is campaigning for the California Secretary of State election. And they are working to make sure that voters know Padilla’s name when they ask for a candidate’s opinions.
Padilla’s presence in the Latino community is surprising because he has never run for elected office. He said that’s likely because there’s no room for him in the Senate. But he has worked on a statewide campaign