This fall’s crop of California GOP candidates is unlike any that came before it. An unprecedented array of diversity has manifested in a pool of contenders that includes plenty of women and every racial background.
C. Antonio Delgado is just one of the fresh faces and viewpoints who hope to shake up the system of entrenched establishment politicians and further drain the swamp in Washington, DC. As the Republican candidate for the U.S. House from California’s 40th District, he’s boldly hoping to unseat one of the most ridiculously long-running dynasties in the nation.
That’s because he’s running against Lucille Roybal-Allard, who has been the representative for the 40th District since 2013, and its region’s prior incarnations as the 33rd and 34th District for 20 years prior to that, since her initial election in 1993. Factor in the fact that her initial election had her taking over the seat her father, Edward Roybal, who owned his seat for 30 years before that, and it becomes clear that the district has become the modern equivalent of a personal fiefdom – one that Delgado says has long outlasted its usefulness.
“My opponent has been part of 60 years of one-family rule. I don’t think our founding fathers intended for our democracy to be held in one family like that,” says Delgado. “Just to give you an example of waste, my opponent spent $420,000 in order to win the primary. I spent $15,000. Talk about what just an average businessman can do to squeeze more resources out of a dollar!”
Indeed, Delgado found himself in the general election through a most improbable series of circumstances. He learned that there was no Republican candidate in the district on December 3, the very last day that contenders could file to run in the primary. He jumped in headfirst and wound up beating four other candidates in the March 3 primary to claim second place and a berth on the ballot in the general election.
“A lot of problems in this state don’t have to do with resources, but lack of resourcefulness. The Democrat leadership just don’t know how to create something sustainable with what they have,” says Delgado. “And if they did, they’ve been in the public sector so long that they’ve forgot. And as a result, we have laws in California like AB5 that have no bearing on reality.
“They’ve never had to create anything that’s sustainable,” he said. “So the Republican Party freed the slaves, the Republican Party passed immigration reform with Reagan, and they will be the only party that will successfully pass immigration reform in the near future.”
Tackling those kinds of challenges, and his innate passion for facing and solving problems head-on, has been a crucial part of Delgado’s professional success. He immigrated with his family from El Salvador as a young child, and not only became the first person in his family to graduate high school, but also went on to finish law school and become an incredibly successful immigration attorney with seven offices – five in Southern California and additional locations in Las Vegas and Houston.
That combination of experiences makes him a perfect candidate for our times – a self-made man who shows that the American Dream IS alive and well and ready for the taking. He’s also a man whose vast experience in courtrooms helping countless families achieve their own dreams of American citizenship gives him a keen understanding of the needs of the 40th District’s constituents and shows that he can be a unifying force for smart progress in the often-contentious battles over immigration reform.
“I started my law firm with $500. There was times when I struggled and I struggled to pay off my phone bill and just when they were about to cut off my phone I’d get an infusion of money to get me to the next month,” Delgado recalls. “I’d meet clients at Starbucks or at their homes, and it’s that kind of hustle that’s missing in the elected officials right now because they don’t know how to create a sustainable system. If you’re a small business owner and you want to succeed, then you have to be sustainable. You have to create something that’s prosperous, or else you go out of business, it’s as simple as that.”
“I’m in the court system everyday, and the way that we make decisions of who qualifies for some sort of immigration relief is just not consistent with the way reality works,” he said. “Politicians who are not there on the ground can’t see the hardships people face and the solutions they need. The immigration system incentivizes making people fit the victim mentality, and those who don’t see themselves that way wind up framing themselves in that mindset to succeed. We need to create a system that rewards people who create and are providing to the United States and contributing to the United States, which would enable this to be beneficial to everyone as a whole.”
One other arena in which Delgado hopes to lead dramatic change is in the education system. As student performance continues to slide ever downward and the dropout rate remains hopelessly high, it’s become clear that decades of Democratic leadership and their cronies in liberal teachers’ unions have long stopped serving parents and millions of students seeking to achieve a better life.
“I believe that parents, from what I’ve noticed talking to people out in the street, want to take control of their lives again,” explains Delgado. “They want parents’ choice in the education of their children, and want control of what’s taught to their children. They feel the current education system is there to indoctrinate their children into political ideologies. Since there’s no competition, we have an education system that’s incredibly wasteful and has teachers quitting after just a few years and with low job satisfaction.
“If there was competition in education, where parents get a voucher to take to a school of their choice and whatever money isn’t spent on the school of their choice is carried over to their college fund, it would benefit not just the schools because it would make them competitive in order to be prosperous. I’m 100 percent behind parent choice, that’s what I’m calling it because that’s what school choice essentially is.”
With the Coronavirus pandemic forcing the state into a long, drawn-out lockdown, many Californians have grown weary of having their lives restricted to an overwhelming degree. Delgado feels that the draconian measures being employed in the name of fighting the virus are in fact creating serious damage to average citizens on many other levels.
“Officials pass these restrictions on businesses where restaurants need to reduce the number of tables in their restaurants. It’s so difficult to stay afloat and that will kill their profit margin, forcing them to close and affecting their employees’ ability to survive,” says Delgado. “We as small business owners are so close with our employees, they’re like family. Their livelihood depends on the business.
“Officials don’t need to worry about it because they and their staffs will be paid no matter what and they hide their gated communities,” he said. “We have to face our employees and their families. Everyone’s an essential worker to their families, to their children, spouse, and the parents they take care of.”
Ultimately, Delgado is proud to be part of the tidal wave of fresh talent that the GOP is bringing to the ballot box this year. He feels that while leftist rioters and looters topple and deface statues nationwide, true, lasting and positive change will only come by toppling the Democratic leaders who have completely lost touch with both their constituents and with reality itself.
“The California GOP candidates this particular year are diverse, and they come not just ethnicity-wise, but also their backgrounds: from business, all walks of life, immigrants,” says Delgado. “The reason I believe that is because these are regular people who feel like they’ve been asked to serve. I myself have never been in politics, and yet I’m in because duty calls. If I hadn’t run, I’d have a pretty good life: quiet, successful, prosperous. Me and my son would live pretty well and enjoy our life. But when I look at my little boy’s face, I realize that the challenges he’s facing ahead are crucial. And not just him, but other little boys and girls, and that’s why I want to get in.”
“I see their futures are at stake, and what kind of father would I be if I let the current establishment destroy all the prosperity and goodness of this prosperous state to go unchallenged?” Delgado asked. “So I run for him, I run for his future, I run for everyone else’s sons and daughters. No one can say the state is being run well. The establishment is disconnected from the everyday people physically and spiritually from regular Californians. During the protests, the elected officials in California were nowhere to be seen, and were hiding. They were concerned only with their power, while me and regular people were in the streets putting out fires and looters, breaking up fights and just trying to restore order because we’ve been abandoned by the elected officials in our state.”
That frustration with the lack of true representation by Democratic fat cats is epitomized by Lucille Roybal-Allard, whom he describes as part of “an elite upper class that has no connection to the average person.”
“My opponent has, because of lack of competition, neglected her people in her district. She really has no incentive to provide anything for them. Whatever she was going do, her legacy’s already made. What can she possibly do in the next two years that she couldn’t do already n the past three decades?” asks Delgado. “Absolutely nothing. And here I am with a passionate fire, and motivated to make this place, the 40th district, prosperous.”
“I want to bring prosperity because prosperity for someone else is prosperity for me . The better off someone else is, the better off I am,” he concludes. “It’s a way to create a synergy between all of us. You can either see the world as we’re in a competition where if someone has something they’re taking it away from you, or as collaboration to build something great together? Collaboration has given me amazing gifts as an immigrant from Central America who went to college and law school. This country has provided for me in a way that I could never have imagined.”
California’s 40th congressional district includes Downey, East Los Angeles, Commerce, Paramount, Bell, Bell Gardens, Bellflower, Cudahy, Huntington Park, Maywood, and the neighborhoods of Florence, Florence-Graham, Historic South Central and South Park, in South Los Angeles. It is the most Latino district in the nation, at 86.5%.