Things That Matter

Candidates of Color on Their Way to Historic Wins

June 5th saw eight states head to the polls to vote for everything from Sheriffs to U.S. Senators. Those races had a lot of historic potential with candidates of color seeking to make history with unprecedented wins. Here’s who made it through to the November general election.

Kevin De Leon

Kevin de León grew up in the San Diego neighborhood of Logan Heights and was raised by his immigrant mother who supported her family by working as a housekeeper. He was the first in his family to graduate from high school and later went on to become the first Latino Leader of the California Senate. de Leon came in second place in California’s top-two winner primary election system and will face first place winner, Dianne Feinstein.

After his primary win, de Leon said, “This race is a fight for California’s future…Real leadership is doing the right thing even when no one is watching – or running against you in an election.”

Deb Haaland

Deb Haaland is a former New Mexico Democratic State Party Chair, attorney, and former tribal administrator. She is a member of the Laguna-Pueblo Tribe and if she wins in November, she will be the first Native American to serve in the U.S. Congress in the 242 years since Native Americans were first colonized.

“Tonight, New Mexico made history,” Haaland said after her primary win, calling her victory a “victory for working people, a victory for women and a victory for everyone who has been sidelined by the billionaire class.”

Michelle Lujan Grisham

Michelle Lujan was born in Los Alamos, New Mexico, and grew up in Santa Fe, and serves New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District. She is currently the Chair for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. She won her primary putting her on track to become the first Democratic Latina Governor in U.S. history. She would succeed Susana Martinez, who is term-limited and was the first Republican Latina Governor in U.S. history.

Ricardo Lara

Ricardo Lara was raised by immigrant parents and in 2012 became the first openly gay person of color to be elected to the California Senate. If Lara wins the November election for Insurance Commissioner he would become the first openly gay statewide officer holder in California history.

“We must fight for our place at the table and show the world we have the right to pursue our dreams,” he said. “I look forward to working together with grassroots leaders to advance a progressive, inclusive and effective agenda for all and make history in California.”

Ammar Campa-Najjar

Ammar Campa-Najjar, 29, is running for Congress in California’s 50th district. He lived in San Diego before his family moved to Gaza as a child. However, Campa-Najjar, his brother and mother relocated back to San Diego after the war broke out. His working-class upbringing motivated him to run and give back to working families.. Born to a Mexican-American mother and Palestinian father, Campa-Najjar could be the first Latino-Arab American to be elected to Congress.

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Sheriff Joe Has Lost His Race To Get Back His Old Job But How Was He Able To Run At All?

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Sheriff Joe Has Lost His Race To Get Back His Old Job But How Was He Able To Run At All?

Ross D Franklin / Getty Images

America’s ‘toughest sheriff’ and blatantly racist law enforcement officials has been defeated in race for sheriff. But what’s shocking is just how close the race was for a man who was arrested and convicted of racially profiling Latinos only to then be pardoned by Trump.

And it appeared that Arpaio had zero remorse for his controversial and damaging policies. In the run up to the election, he vowed to continue his controversial policing tactics with policies that included housing county jail inmates in tents and regular immigration sweeps. 

Running to get back his old job, Joe Arpaio has lost his primary bid for Maricopa County Sheriff.

America’s self-confessed “toughest sheriff”, Joe Arpaio, was narrowly defeated in his bid to win back the sheriff’s post in metro Phoenix that he held for 24 years before being voted out in 2016 amid voter frustrations over his taxpayer-funded legal bills, blatant racism, his penchant for self-promotion and a defiant streak that led to his now-pardoned criminal conviction.

In the latest count from Tuesday’s primary, announced on Friday, Arpaio lost the primary to his long time aide, Jerry Sheridan. Mr. Sheridan had secured about 37 percent of the vote in a three-way race, compared to Mr. Arpaio’s 36 percent — a difference of 6,280 votes out of more than 420,000 cast, with only 2,385 ballots remaining to be counted.

For Mr. Arpaio, 88, the loss on Tuesday was his third electoral defeat in four years. After losing his 2016 re-election bid, he suffered a resounding loss in a three-way Republican primary for a U.S. Senate seat in 2018.

Mr. Arpaio said in an interview on Friday that this year’s race was his last run for public office, adding that his age and record as sheriff were working against him.

“They were tired of me and tired of my office,” he said.

So who is the Republican who won the primary?

Voters instead backed Jerry Sheridan, Arpaio’s former chief deputy, who promised to revive many of the sheriff’s racist and anti-immigrant policies but without the showmanship.

Mr. Sheridan was found guilty of civil contempt of court and a judge referred him for criminal contempt charges, though prosecutors later said the statute of limitations prevented them from bringing charges. A related complaint with the state board that certifies police officers languished until Mr. Sheridan’s certification expired this year.

In November’s general election, Sheridan will face current Sheriff Paul Penzone, the Democrat who beat Arpaio four years ago. And most political observers say Penzone is the favorite in the general election.

His campaign put out a statement after Arpaio’s defeat.

“With the primary race for Maricopa County Sheriff officially concluding tonight, Arizona Democrats reaffirm our commitment to protecting the Latino community from the likes of Joe Arpaio’s former number two, Jerry Sheridan, who was found in contempt of court and will double down on Arpaio’s disturbing legacy that embarrassed our state and cost taxpayers millions of dollars,” said Matt Grodsky, spokesman for the Arizona Democratic Party. 

“Arizona’s largest county is better off under the leadership of Sheriff Penzone, a leader with a legacy of accountability, committed to building community trust,” he added. “We know voters will stick with him this November.”

Arpaio had long harassed Latinos and made life a living hell in Arizona for migrant communities.

Credit: Ross D Franklin / Getty Images

Arpaio rose to national prominence thanks to his blatantly racist, anti-immigrant, and illegal policies as ‘America’s toughest sheriff.’ During his tenure, he housed inmates in tents, forced them to wear pink underwear and brought back chain gangs. His department conducted sweeps of undocumented immigrants in Hispanic communities and detained Spanish-speakers under suspicion of being in the country irregularly. 

Then in 2011, Arpaio was convicted of deliberately violating an injunction halting his practice of detaining migrants who are not suspected of having committed a state crime. Only federal officers have jurisdiction over immigration. He faced six months in jail but was benefited by President Donald Trump’s first presidential pardon.

This year’s primary by Arpaio exploited racial tensions and pushed a tough-on-crime message amid a nationwide movement to stop police abuses against people of color. His rebuke from Republican voters could be an ominous sign for the president, who is trailing Biden in the polls in Arizona.

Arpaio is a close ally of Trump’s and was one of his first supporters in 2015, and his fall from grace mirrors the struggle that the president faces among suburban Republican voters in Arizona, a traditionally conservative state that is seen as up for grabs in this year’s presidential election.

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In Total Telenovela Style, Spain’s Former King Is Forced Into Exile But Don’t Feel Too Bad For Him

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In Total Telenovela Style, Spain’s Former King Is Forced Into Exile But Don’t Feel Too Bad For Him

Daniel Perez / Getty Images

In news that totally seems to be made for TV, the former king of Spain – Juan Carlos – has been forced to flee the country and to live in exile as allegations of corruption emerge.

Juan Carlos had been a very popular and well-liked king until he was forced to abdicate in 2014. He had been on an elephant hunting trip in Botswana as Spain grappled with the very worst of the Great Recession and unemployment hit 24%.

Since his abdication, allegations of corruption and money laundering have chased him and harmed the Spanish monarchy, including his son, Felipe, who is the current reigning king.

Spain is reeling after their former king, Juan Carlos, has fled the country to live in exile abroad.

For a royal scandal with a dash of shock and awe, this week we look to Spain, where its former king has fled the country under a cloud of corruption allegations. This is the same former king who was accused of having a thing for Princess Diana.

Juan Carlos, who ruled for 39 years from 1975 to 2014, has fled the country following a series of allegations he pocketed tens of millions of dollars from a Saudi Arabian deal in an offshore Swiss bank account. He dropped the news to son and current rule King Felipe via a letter published this week.

The former king had become plagued with scandal after scandal and it was beginning to impact his son Felipe, the current reigning king.

Credit: Carlos Alvarez / Getty Images

Although he had several small scale scandals during his reign, Juan Carlos appeared set to go down in history as the leader who helped guide Spain from a deadly dictatorship to a healthy democracy after the death of Gen. Franco in 1975.

However, once his. 2014 abdication of the throne, new allegations of corruption and shady financial deals have followed him. As a result, the former king’s son – King Felipe – has led a very austere personal life in a country where the monarchy does not enjoy high levels of support. 

Many experts say that the whole situation has cast a shadow on the future of Spain’s monarchy. The emergence of shocking allegations of corruption and money laundering against former Spanish King Juan Carlos have cast doubt over the very future of the monarchy, under his son King Felipe

Meanwhile, officials actually have no idea where the former king is currently at.

Credit: Daniel Perez / Getty Images

Since the former king first published his letter detailing his plan to live in exile, outside of Spain, there has been intense speculation about where he would go. Turns out: we still don’t know for sure.

His letter gave no details about his destination but many media outlets reported he would be going to the Caribbean – perhaps the Dominican Republic. However, officials there said they had no information that he was coming. 

A spokeswoman for the Caribbean nation’s immigration service said he had not entered the country, despite reports that he had arrived on Tuesday. But she said he had been there for a few days from late February to early March.

Media in Portugal have reported that he is in a Portuguese resort town, but few outlets have actually been able to confirm these reports.

So with all this drama what could happen to the former king next?

As a royal, Juan Carlos still enjoys some level of immunity from prosecution. However, in Switzerland, which is investigating alleged money laundering, the former king has no immunity, regardless of the date of any possible crimes. So it’s possible that Swiss prosecutors could attempt to bring charges against him.

Regarding the Spanish Supreme Court inquiry, most experts believe the former king will avoid charges as most of the possible crimes took place before his abdication.

Spain’s Congress too has so far voted against a minority of left-wing and regional parties that wish to hold an investigative commission into the origin of Juan Carlos’s offshore fortune.

But what of King Felipe’s future in a country that polls suggest is split fairly evenly down the middle on remaining a monarchy? Some argue that Felipe needs to take greater steps towards a clean break with the past. The Prime Minister has admitted that he is in favor of reforming the constitutional concept of absolute immunity for Spain’s head of state. 

While a prominent supporter of Spain’s monarchy, José Antonio Zarzalejos, told the BBC that King Felipe should take further steps to secure his future on the throne, including the “physical removal” of Juan Carlos from Zarzuela palace.

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