Feb 7, 2024 - News

Indicted Chula Vista City Council member seeks re-election

Side by side images of Councilwoman Andrea Cardenas and the Chula Vista City Hall

Chula Vista City Council member Andrea Cardenas (left) and City Hall. Photos: City of Chula Vista

Despite being indicted, City Council member Andrea Cardenas is seeking re-election in Chula Vista's fourth district.

Why it matters: Voters relying only on information on the March 5 primary ballot might not know Cardenas has been indicted. But, if re-elected, it's possible she could use her resignation as part of a plea bargain with prosecutors.

Context: District Attorney Summer Stephan in November charged Chula Vista Councilwoman Andrea Cardenas with fraud, conspiracy and money laundering.

  • Prosecutors say Cardenas and her brother, Jesus Cardenas, received roughly $170,000 in PPP funds under false pretenses and used it to pay off Andrea Cardenas' campaign debt and for personal expenses.
  • The Cardenas siblings have pleaded not guilty to all charges.
  • In a statement last month, the City Council member said she looks forward to defending herself and never intended to disappoint anyone who voted for her.

The latest: Cardenas faces five challengers in the primary after resisting calls to resign.

State of play: The San Diego County Democratic Party has endorsed Cesar Fernandez, a Chula Vista Elementary School District board member, after rescinding endorsement of Cardenas.

  • The Chula Vista Imperial Counties Labor Council also has endorsed Fernandez, who's one of who's among the six democratic primary candidates.
  • The City Council in December stripped Cardenas of her seat on the powerful San Diego Association of Governments and declined to appoint her to any other outside agency.

What they're saying: A December poll by Union-Tribune/10News found that 41% of Chula Vista residents believe Cardenas should drop out of the race, while 42% said she should resign her City Council seat and 30% said they were undecided.

  • Cardenas did not respond to a request for comment on her decision to seek re-election.
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