UPDATE: Emanuel Pleitez speaks out at press conference, after the jump.
After seeing a bump in his polling numbers among Latino voters, Los Angeles mayoral candidate Emanuel Pleitez is getting aggressive and now looking to beef up that support by bringing the politics of immigration into the fold. Immigration reform is an important issue in the Latino community.
Using guilt by association, Pleitez points out that three contributors to rival Eric Garcetti also gave money to Arizona politicians who supported strong anti-immigration policies. But the charges don't necessarily add up.
In 2010, the L.A. City Council, with Garcetti acting as City Council president, voted to boycott and stop doing business with Arizona-based companies after politicians in that state approved a hugely controversial law targeting illegal immigrants.
Pleitez points out that Garcetti contributor Jack Selby gave U.S. Senator John McCain several thousands of dollars when the war hero ran for president in 2008. At the time of the contributions, McCain was a moderate on immigration issues, but changed his tune when running in a competitive re-election race in 2010 — and supported the controversial immigration law that outraged Latino activists and many others.
Since Selby gave to a more moderate McCain in 2007, this anti-immigration connection made by the Pleitez campaign rings a bit hollow.
Another Garcetti contributor, James Harrison, gave money to Republican Arizona Congressman John Shadegg, who clearly did have harsh immigration policies, such as voting in favor of erecting a fence on the American/Mexican border.
Harrison also donated cash to Republican Paul Gosar, who has less than charitable immigration policies. Gosar won his race for U.S. Congress in 2012.
Meldman also donated to the 2008, moderate version of John McCain. So that charge by the Pleitez campaign is basically a wash.
What may be more alarming to Los Angeles voters in a heavily Democratic city is that Selby, Harrison, and Meldman seem to really like their Republicans, but they're perfectly comfortable giving cash to Democrat Garcetti. What does that mean?
Also, the Los Angeles Times found a year after Garcetti and the City Council passed the Arizona boycott, the city was still doing business with Arizona companies. Now that seems like better cannon fodder for the underdog Pleitez campaign.
In any event, Pleitez will be holding a press conference at the L.A. City Hall steps today to blast Garcetti.
UPDATE: At the City Hall press conference, Pleitez had these strong words to say about Garcetti:
“I'm sickened by the constant pandering by our elected officials to our immigrant communities they've habitually ignored and don't understand.” Pleitez added, “We don't need another politician who says one thing and does another.”
The candidate also said, “I would think that Councilmember Garcetti — who's described anti-immigrant people as 'going off the deep end' and 'forgetting what it is to be American' — would reject money that came from such people. He should live up to his promise to boycott Arizona's anti-immigrant policies by returning all donations from anti-immigrant supporters.”
Contact Patrick Range McDonald at email@example.com.