A campaign flyer sent by a candidate in the April 4 special election for a seat on the Los Angeles City Council 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 who say he is endorsed by the “Democratic Party,” according to a city filing made by his campaign.
“Looking at that, ‘Democratic Party,’ it’s completely misleading,” county Democratic Party Chairman Mark Gonzalez said in an interview Thursday. “It’s not exact. Unfortunately, the (other) campaigns have a right to be upset.”
Scott Mann, Santana’s director of communications, defended the flyer, saying it’s not misleading. He added that there is “no need” to change any future pieces sent out by the campaign.
He said Santana is endorsed by several Democratic clubs, including the San Fernando Valley Democratic Party, which is an umbrella body for a coalition of clubs.
In response to criticism from rival candidates about the hanger, Mann said, “It’s unfortunate that someone would make such a desperate attempt to diminish Marco’s overwhelming Democratic support.”
González said Andrés Molina, the county party’s executive director, contacted Santana’s campaign manager, Jonathan Herrera, about the flyer Thursday. Herrera told Molina that the mail was “old” and was sent about two weeks ago, according to González.
Herrera also told Molina that another email from Santana’s campaign now specifies that the San Fernando Valley Democratic Party has endorsed Santana, according to González.
Under city ethics laws, all campaign communications sent by a campaign to 200 or more people must be filed with the city with 24-hour distribution.
Imelda Padilla, who is also running in the Council District 6 race, called Santana “very skilled.”
“If you have a club, mention the club,” Padilla said, referring to clubs affiliated with the Democrats. “You can’t tell people that you have the backing of the Democratic Party.”
Mann, Santana’s communications director, said Herrera, the campaign manager, was not available for an interview about his call with the party official.
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He also said there was “no contradiction” between his response to the Times and Herrera’s responses to the Los Angeles County Democratic Party.
“We just put up these door signs, so I’m not sure where the two-week time frame is coming from, as it’s not correct,” Mann said. “We comply with ethical standards.”
Santana is one of seven candidates running to fill the council seat left vacant by the resignation of Councilwoman Nury Martinez.
Santana, who works at LA Family Housing, is endorsed by Councilwoman Nithya Raman as well as The Times editorial board, which is independent of the news department.