Cenk Uygur on why he’s running for 25th Congressional District

Cenk Uygur runs for California's 25th Congressional District in 2020 elections. Courtesy of Uygur

With an official bid for California’s 25th Congressional District in 2020, Cenk Uygur, founder of the progressive news and opinion channel “The Young Turks,” said Thursday he’s bringing to the race “fire and fury” to give constituents higher wages and safety for students amid school shootings. 

Last month, the former MSNBC personality announced the launch of his campaign after former Rep. Katie Hill stepped down from office on Nov. 1. He’s now looking into the next steps: relocating with his family from Los Angeles to the district. 

“I’m moving to the district but I’ll have to wait until the end of the school year,” said Uygur, a father of a 9- and 7-year-old. “We’re already looking at houses and it’s a beautiful area so we’re happy to move.” 

As the family finds a place to settle down, he and his campaign committee have already started mobilizing in the Santa Clarita Valley. On Friday, Uygur announced he would no longer accept endorsements, following an endorsement from presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, who said in a statement on Thursday that Uygur “will serve ordinary people, not powerful special interests,” but then withdrew his endorsement entirely a day later.

Uygur’s platform is taking on “corruption in politics,” as his campaign website states.

“Getting money out of politics (is a priority) because that affects all the issues and the issues of this district,” said Uygur. 

Other priorities include supporting small businesses, increasing the minimum wage and Medicare for All — the only candidate who has voiced being in favor of it because “others get contributions from private insurance companies,” he said.

School funding and improved safety for students in the wake of the Saugus High School shooting are also on his radar. 

How does he plan on doing that?   

“I’m going to go after Mitch McConnell (the Senate majority leader) with fire and fury and the reason for that is that we must get federal gun control immediately,” he said. “Every day that our kids are in danger of a school shooting is a day that I cannot bear. If we put enough public pressure he will have to bring (legislation) up for a vote.” 

Uygur said he’s not concerned about his challengers on either side of the party lines, which include former Republican Rep. Steve Knight, Republican Mike Garcia and Assemblywoman Christy Smith, D-Santa Clarita. Besides the competition, the progressive pundit has had to reckon with past remarks about women, saying that “I’ve apologized. They were made when I was a politically incorrect Republican.” 

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