Within hours of Republican Donald Trump clinching the presidency, Senate leader Kevin de León had established himself as a commander of the resistance.
In a joint statement with the Assembly speaker, de León vowed that California would remain a refuge of justice and opportunity for everyone – “regardless of how you look, where you live, what language you speak or who you love.”
Returning from a United Nations’ climate change conference in Morocco, de León said he heard from other nations seeking assurances that California would continue to advance its progressive environmental policies. Later, the Los Angeles Democrat told an International Migrants Day rally that “we are all Americans.”
Despite his rapidly rising profile, de León has been circumspect about his political aspirations, even as other top-tier prospects for higher offices sketch out their paths. “He’s one of the ones people are watching,” said Laphonza Butler, president of the Service Employees International Union California.
De León’s allies stress he has not made a determination. They say it’s not in his nature to run for something he isn’t passionate about simply to remain in office.
“He’s not going to expend an ounce of energy thinking about his next job if it takes away from his current job,” said John Shallman, his longtime strategist. “If there is some mythical decision window that’s closing he is supposed to be jumping through, he’s not worried about it.”
Many close to de León believe he has what it takes to…
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