A statement on our victories and on growing Democratic Socialist electoral power in Los Angeles

After the first week of ballot processing, the results of Los Angeles’s 2022 election cycle are starting to clarify, and it’s clear that this year’s elections have been massively successful for democratic socialist candidates. 2022 was DSA-LA’s most ambitious endorsement cycle yet. The success of our electoral program comes from our members’ meticulous planning and hard work to organize our communities, our neighborhoods, and our workplaces. When more people are organized to vote, they elect candidates who put forward bold platforms that offer the promise of real change for Los Angeles’s working class.

This election is a culmination of several years of clear electoral strategy, which included developing a socialist program for the working class of Los Angeles, thoughtful analysis of and building our membership density throughout Los Angeles, and building strong internal mobilization infrastructure. An endorsement from DSA is unlike other organizations: it is a commitment of our chapter’s resources and the mobilization of our members, volunteering hundreds of hours knocking doors, coordinated messaging, fundraising, and planning to win.

Across this cycle, DSA Los Angeles has:

  • Knocked 64,000 doors as volunteers
  • Had 600+ members contributing to our campaigns as volunteers 
  • Held dozens of events and fundraisers, combining our chapter’s campaigns with these candidate campaigns

Since 2020, DSA-LA’s endorsements in regularly-scheduled elections have a 72% win rate

Endorsed candidate Hugo Soto-Martinez has taken a decisive lead against a two-term incumbent in the race for Los Angeles City Council, District 13, and will unseat long-time incumbent Mitch O’Farrell. Hugo has been an elected DSA-LA chapter leader, a neighborhood organizer, and will be the district’s next City Council member. A strong DSA-LA district with over 800 members living in it, this victory is the impact of hundreds of members knocking tens of thousands of doors and devoting hundreds of volunteer hours. The campaign in CD-13 is a coalition that sees the merging of the grassroots socialist, tenant, and environmentalist movements that elected Nithya Raman in 2020 with the progressive wing of the labor movement, most significantly represented by UNITE HERE Local 11. This is exactly the coalition that DSA-LA’s program identified as the pro-worker coalition necessary to win working class majority power in the county for the future. Hugo, joining DSA-LA members on city council, Nithya Raman and Eunisses Hernandez, is the antidote to the corrupt, racist, anti-tenant business-as-usual coalition that has run Los Angeles for decades.

In the LAUSD board seat representing the greater Eastside, DSA-LA member and endorsed candidate Dr. Rocío Rivas took the lead over her opponent, despite being outspent 8:1. As Rocío started behind on the June primary night and finished in first place, we expect late mail votes to continue to break for her, to finish in first place. DSA-LA endorsed the Rivas campaign after the primary, knocking over four thousand doors through the summer and fall. Dr. Rivas has been a years-long DSA-LA member who has consistently opposed school privatization and been a regular contributor to the chapter’s Green New Deal for Public Schools campaign. If results hold, Dr. Rivas will become the second DSA-LA-endorsed member on the Los Angeles Unified school board.

In the South Bay and the San Gabriel Valley, DSA-LA members and endorsed candidates ran campaigns against strongly entrenched incumbents. Fatima Iqbal-Zubair won tens of thousands of votes for a proud democratic socialist in AD-65 against an overwhelmingly well-funded pro-fossil-fuels incumbent. Ricardo Martinez ran a unique left campaign against two conservative incumbents in La Puente. We expect both of them to narrow their opponents’ gaps, and build strong bases for democratic socialism to continue to grow across the county. Lastly, current DSA-LA chapter leader and labor organizer Estefany Castañeda handily defeated her opponent for re-election to the Centinela Valley Union High School Board.

While we’re clearly deeply proud of the work we’ve put in for our endorsed candidates, they’re only the most visible element of a rising socialist coalition across the region.

DSA-LA endorsed two housing-oriented ballot measures, LA’s Measure ULA mansion tax and Pasadena’s Measure H for rent control. Both measures led on election night and have maintained or extended their leads in late reporting. Keeping people housed, breaking the power of landlords and speculators, and making housing a public good, rather than a private investment, is central to a socialist program and a pressing need for millions of Californians. DSA-LA’s commitment to organize at the point of housing helped secure real, immediate changes in how our communities house people.

Even where DSA-LA didn’t endorse candidates, reformers, socialists, and progressives are winning on platforms of police accountability, using public resources for the public good, and supporting workers and their organizations. We’d like to congratulate members and movement allies Kenneth Mejia, Nikki Perez, Liz Alcantar, Kelsey Iino, and Ingrid Gunnell on their victories, as well as the not-yet-decided campaigns of Aaron Reveles, David Kim, and Juan Munoz.

This is only the beginning for our chapter. So far we’ve flipped 20% of LA City Council and won our measures, but there is still much to be done to help working Angelenos, forgotten by those in power; this is especially evident given the blatant intent of sitting Council members behind closed doors to turn us against each other. With each win we make it clearer that we are not to be underestimated, and that the multiracial working class – the supermajority of Angelenos – respond to our socialist politics. This growing  coalition, with DSA-LA’s grassroots socialist energy joining with the tenants movement, the environmental movement, and particularly the labor movement, is the future of Los Angeles. We invite all Angelenos interested in a more just world for the working class to join us at dsa-la.org/join-us.