Richard Alarcon

Former Los Angeles City Councilman Richard Alarcon, seen in January, is challenging incumbent U.S. Rep. Tony Cardenas for a San Fernando Valley House seat. (Los Angeles Times)

David Zahniser and Sarah D. Wire
March 11, 2016

Former Los Angeles City Councilman Richard Alarcon, who saw his convictions for perjury and voter fraud thrown out two months ago, has another curve ball in store for the San Fernando Valley: He’s running for Congress.

Alarcon, 62, filed paperwork Friday to challenge U.S. Rep. Tony Cardenas (D-Los Angeles), who represents much of the east San Fernando Valley.

The announcement sets the stage for a potentially nasty Democrat-on-Democrat showdown in the June 7 primary. Alarcon, who lives in Mission Hills, said he would be a better representative than Cardenas, who has been in Congress for roughly three years.

Alarcon also called on Cardenas to explain to his constituents what’s happening with a federal investigation that caused at least one of the congressman’s staffers to receive a grand jury subpoena last year.

“I have to be very frank and say, people have a lot of concerns about the pending investigation,” Alarcon said.

Last year, Cardenas turned down The Times’ interview requests to discuss the grand jury subpoena. On Friday afternoon, Cardenas campaign spokesman Josh Pulliam pointed out that Alarcon lost his 2012 bid for Assembly by double digits.

“The voters have already spoken on this matter and sent a clear message – they don’t want Richard Alarcon in public office,” Pulliam said in an e-mail.

Cardenas and Alarcon are both veteran Valley politicians. Cardenas was elected to the state Assembly in 1996 and joined the City Council in 2003. Alarcon spent eight years in the state Senate and 11 years on the council.

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