Judge orders Trump reference deleted in race for LA County supervisor seat

KPCC's Larry Mantle moderated a primary election debate among candidates for the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors District 5 seat in May.; Credit: Quincy Surasmith/KPCC
Another example of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump's impact on local races played out Thursday when a Los Angeles judge struck Trump's name from a candidate statement in a race for county supervisor.

Democratic candidate Darrell Park, who is running for the non-partisan seat to represent Northern Los Angeles County on the Board of Supervisors, referenced the controversial GOP nominee in Park's candidate statement for a voters' election pamphlet.

Park's original candidate statement read as follows:

Los Angeles County cannot afford to elect a Supervisor who will support Donald Trump's extreme Republican agenda.

His opponent, Republican Kathryn Barger, who is the longtime chief deputy for outgoing Supervisor Michael Antonovich, took issue with those words since it implied she supports Trump.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mary Strobel agreed.

“It needs to be stricken in its entirety,” Strobel said during a court hearing.

Strobel did allow Park's statement to include his Democratic Party endorsement — which Barger's attorney had argued should also be removed — but she ordered that the statement delete language implying that Park is the "only" candidate to be endorsed.

Barger said she's running on a bipartisan platform and that she has more Democratic endorsements than Park. 

"I never have been someone who is, is out there stomping for Trump and so how that connection was made was in my opponent’s mind," she said in an interview with KPCC.

KPCC previously reported that Barger was silent on the issue of her support for Trump during a primary election debate with KPCC host Larry Mantle.

At one point during the debate, Mantle said: "Let me ask the five of you here — are any of you already decided you will not support Donald Trump as the Republican nominee? Any hands in the air?"

Barger now says she didn't get the opportunity to answer the question. 

"I think all of us sitting there did not hear him say, 'raise your hand,'" she said. 

Video of the event can be viewed online — the Trump question was posed about 13 and a half minutes into the recording. 

Barger said she voted for Ohio Gov. John Kasich in the GOP primary. She said she hasn’t decided who she’ll vote for in November, but it won't be Trump.

In a statement, Park’s political consultant Derek Humphrey said they were unhappy with the judge's decision.

 “We are disappointed that Kathryn Barger’s high-priced attorneys succeeded in their effort to remove Donald Trump’s name from Darrell Park’s voter pamphlet statement. It is more than a little ironic that Barger chose to file this superfluous lawsuit since it is exactly what Donald Trump would have done,” he said. 

AirTalk plans to hold a debate in October between Barger and Park — and one for the candidates in the supervisors race covering the district from South Bay to Long Beach. Janis Hahn and Steve Napolitano are competing for that seat, which is currently held by Donald Knabe.

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