With Drama in Assembly District 45, Candidate Ankur Patel Talks 2018
His campaign is not only about his candidacy, it’s about seizing a platform to educate and engage voters who are feeling cynical or left out.
The race for Assembly District 45 in the West Valley shifted radically when incumbent Matt Dababneh was accused of sexually assaulting a female lobbyist. If you need the details, here’s the LA Times coverage so far. The details of the story are disturbing, and on Friday, December 8th, Debabneh officially announced his resignation, meaning AD 45 will be an open seat when it comes up for election next year.
Dababneh is a Democrat and voted fairly left of center, as tracks with his constituency. AD 45 covers most of western San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles county and a small section of Ventura County as well. The district is 48% registered Democrat, 22% Republican, and 23% No Party preference. In the 2016 general election AD 45 voted heavily in favor of Hillary Clinton. The 2016 election saw Dababneh come in first in a 3 person primary and then convincingly defeat Republican Jerry Kowal in the general election with 66% of the vote. The seat is reasonably seen as a safe for Democrats.
Ankur is hoping to pull the district farther to the left. Currently, Ankur works for LAUSD Board Member Scott Schmerelson focusing on constituent outreach. The 31 year-old Patel running as a Democrat, though he’s been No Party preference since he registered at 18. As he noted, in a heavily Democratic district it just makes sense to run under their flag.
Our interview was wide ranging from topics like the current wave of progressive candidates, to local education issues, to statewide budgets. Above all Ankur wanted to stress that his campaign is not only about his candidacy, it’s about seizing a platform to educate and engage voters who are feeling cynical or left out. What stuck with me most was Ankur’s clear vision for what he wants to change in our political discourse: “I want education diplomacy, not war diplomacy.”
Ankur is planning to run a very grassroots campaign, heavy on the canvassing and face time, very light on the mailers and campaign ads. Having run for city controller Ankur knows that a small candidate with only $1,000 can beat a candidate with $250,000 in backing.
Patel’s campaign is still in its infancy, the first step will be to collect enough signatures in AD 45 to get a place on the June 5th primary. For the time being you can head over to his Facebook page for updates and to coordinate to volunteer with his campaign (and yes, there will be lots of door knocking.)
You can listen to clips or the full interview below.
On why he chose to run in AD 45:
On 2018 as a progressive wave election:
On keeping education policy tied to local needs:
On public schools and charter schools:
On Education Diplomacy:
On the urgency of the 2018 elections:
The full interview can be heard here: