Your guide to California's Congressional District 29 race: Northeast San Fernando Valley

  • Luz Rivas, Democrat, Assembly member

It was a bit of a surprise when Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-Pacoima), who has held the seat since 2013, announced his retirement last fall. The longtime San Fernando Valley politician tried and failed to gain a spot in congressional leadership. He has endorsed a longtime ally, Assemblymember Rivas (D-North Hollywood), to replace him.

Rivas founded DIY Girls, an education nonprofit in the community focused on encouraging girls to pursue training and careers in science, engineering and technology. She won an Assembly seat in 2018 and has much of the institutional Democratic support in this race, including endorsements from U.S. Sen. Alex Padilla, Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis and several major local unions including the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor.

The San Fernando Valley native is going up against two people who have previously lost to Cárdenas.

  • Benito “Benny Bernal, Republican, former LAUSD employee

Bernal, who has been endorsed by the state Republican Party, has run unsuccessfully for the Los Angeles City Council as well as for the 29th District seat. He spent nearly 30 years working for the Los Angeles Unified School District as a bus driver and supervisor but, according to his campaign website, was forced into “early retirement due to the COVID mandate, a decision rooted in his commitment to uphold his religious beliefs.”

Bernal said he’d like to lower taxes and place a “moratorium on foreign nationals buying lands/homes in the USA.”

Dueñas lost by wide margins to Cárdenas in 2020 and 2022. In 2018, she ran as a member of the Green Party and lost in the primary. Dueñas was born in Sun Valley and previously sat on the community’s Neighborhood Council. She said Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vt.) run for president in 2016 inspired her to seek public office.

Dueñas and Rivas are highlighting their local roots and desire to bring more economic development and support to the region. Both want to protect and in some cases expand social safety net programs such as Medicare and Social Security to help the district’s large low-income immigrant population.

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