Openly gay Latino candidate in Congressional race doesn’t make history

Raymond Meza hoped to make history and become the first openly-gay Latino member of Congress, but he didn’t receive enough votes in Tuesday’s primary. Photo: Raymond Meza campaign.

LOS ANGELES — Raymond Meza’s hopes to make history as the first openly gay Latino member of Congress were dashed Tuesday.

The 32-year-old Montecito Heights resident and union organizer was among 23 candidates running in the primary to replace former Rep. Xavier Becerra and fill an open seat in the 34th Congressional District.

With all precincts reporting, but some provisional ballots still to be counted, Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez, with 28.14 percent or 8,156 votes, looks like he will advance to the June 6 runoff. His likely opponent appears to be Robert Lee Ahn, who has 18.99 percent or 5,504 votes, according to the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder’s office.

Meza received 1.3 percent or 385 votes.

“While our campaign was unsuccessful last night in advancing to the runoff, we have formed a strong team to carry this work forward,” Meza said in a statement.

“As I’ve said throughout this campaign, we can win on any issue, from healthcare to education to immigration, when we retake the debate according to our values and build grassroots movements and electoral coalitions,” he said. “I will continue to be at the front of these efforts so don’t be surprised to receive an email from me soon.”

About the author

Phillip Zonkel

Award-winning journalist Phillip Zonkel spent 17 years at Long Beach's Press-Telegram, where he was the first reporter in the paper's history to have a beat covering the city's vibrant LGBTQ. He also created and ran the popular and innovative LGBTQ news blog, Out in the 562.

He won two awards and received a nomination for his reporting on the local LGBTQ community, including a two-part investigation that exposed anti-gay bullying of local high school students and the school districts' failure to implement state mandated protections for LGBTQ students.

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