The race to replace Kate Hill in California’s 25th District keeps getting wilder. Cenk Uygur, a former MSNBC personality and founder of The Young Turks, a progressive activism website, has announced his intent to run for the seat.
“I say to the Democratic voters of the 25th District: Let me at ’em,” Uygur told The Hollywood Reporter. “Do you want someone who’s going to be polite to the Republicans or do you want someone who’s going to rip their face off?”
And while he’s clearly fired up, there might be a couple of things standing in his way. For one, he doesn’t live in or have any apparent connection to the 25th. Uygur resides in West L.A. and, when asked about the issue, responded, “People are obsessed with geography over the issues.”
He is also being forced to reckon with a series of comments and blog posts about women written when he was around 30 years old. Among those, he described women as “genetically flawed” because they don’t want to have sex as frequently as he considered desirable, writing, “They are poorly designed creatures who do not want to have sex nearly as often as needed for the human race to get along peaceably and fruitfully.” In a post about his “rules” of dating published on The Young Turks website, he wrote, “There must be orgasm by the fifth date,” referring specifically to his sexual satisfaction not that of his female partners, and, “If I haven’t unloaded by this time, things are intolerably slow.”
Uygur apologized for the comments in 2017, after their surfacing caused him to be ousted from the Justice Democrats PAC, which he co-founded. Nonetheless many feel that the comments and values they reflect should sideline him from seeking office.
“Cenk Uygur’s comments are both heartless and disqualifying for someone who wants to serve in the peoples’ U.S. House of Representatives,” Mark J. González, chair of the Los Angeles County Democratic Party, wrote in a statement. “The Los Angeles County Democratic Party does not tolerate hate or discrimination against any group or community. Instead, we celebrate the Democratic values of inclusivity, fairness, diversity, and compassion of and for people of all backgrounds and communities. Cenk Uygur’s shameful comments underscore the fact that he believes the opposite—and as a result he does not belong in Congress.”
Uygur is positioning himself as a challenge from the left to the current Democratic frontrunner for the seat, Assemblywoman Christy Smith. Smith has already lined up endorsements from much of the region’s congressional delegation and dozens of other elected officials, local leaders, and progressive organizations.
Running from the Republican side are former Trump aide George Papadopoulos and O.C.-based right-wing media provocateur and “men’s rights activist” Mike Cernovich. When Cernovich posted a tweet about his giddiness for a televised debate between himself and Uygur, Smith had a succinct retort: “How about all of you man spread in your own damn districts?”
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