SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – The resignation of ex-senator Tony Mendoza hasn’t disqualified him from another run for office.
In fact, despite troubling allegations of sexual harassment, Mendoza has filed paperwork for another Senate run.
So, could he win?
Mendoza’s name may already be erased from Senate chambers, but not from memory.
“If he can get past the credibility issue, that familiarity matters a lot in politics,” said Professor and Analyst Darry Sragow.
Sragow says regardless of what he’s known for, he’s known.
“I’m not casting stones here, but just look at who our President is, I mean, voters can be very forgiving of candidates or elected officials who have transgressions,” he said.
Sragow is the author of the “California Target Book”, which analyzes legislative races. According to his findings, only 15 percent of the voters in Mendoza’s Artesia district voted for him in 2014.
If they’re not engaged—they’ll never know, right? Wrong, according to Political Strategist Steven Maviglio.
“Citizens know very little about their assembly members and state senators…probably 10, 15 percent have any name- recognition whatsoever. And if all they know about him is bad, his chances of re-election is next to nothing,” said Maviglio.
Maviglio does acknowledge Mendoza’s got more campaign money than potential challengers.
The Secretary of State says Mendoza has more than $655,000 in his war chest.
Maviglio says that’s a good amount—particularly for a politician accused of harassing at least six women he’s worked with.
But he says, more money can’t necessarily save a bad brand.
“No matter how much he spends, no matter how many people come to his defense, his name is associated with sexual harassment,” he said.
Mendoza, a married father of four, has repeatedly denied the charges. He also shocked the Senate this week when he resigned and saved himself from being the first senator to be expelled in over a decade.
Will he surprise us again?
“I just wouldn’t be willing to place a bet on the outcome,” said Sragow.
And the bets come as state Democrats head to San Diego for the annual Democratic Convention this weekend. That’s where candidates receive endorsements.
One of Mendoza’s potential opponents—a woman—may attend.