LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- When Los Angeles Councilman Kevin de León refused to resign following the leaked audio scandal that rocked city hall, even after months of protests, including one outside of his own home, it's no surprise the day would come when he announced his reelection campaign.
"I could have, you know, put my head in the sand and acted like there's no room for improvement. There's no room to look deeper inside, but I didn't do that," he told Eyewitness News during an interview on Wednesday. "I engaged with a lot of folks in the religious community, other community leaders, and it was a process. It's a journey, and quite frankly, it's not a process that's necessarily over. It's a journey that may take years, but it's a process nonetheless, and I think I've become a better person because of it."
Even if the councilman has healed, many of his constituents have not and are calling for new leadership.
California State Assemblymembers Miguel Santiago and Wendy Carrillo are among those competing against de León in the March primary.
In a statement, Santiago said "Enough is enough. People are hurting. Kevin de León's participation in the racist tapes scandal was so extreme that everybody from local constituents to President Biden called for him to resign. Councilmember de León should not be announcing his re-election today; he should be announcing his resignation."
"He has been removed from all of his committee assignments in city council," Carrillo told ABC7. "He does not have the support of his current colleagues on council. He is not a partner to our mayor in solving some of the city's biggest issues."
Some city hall pundits believe there is a good chance de León is re-elected as some constituents have stuck by him during the scandal. Time is on his side, and the more crowded the field, support for other candidates could be split.
Four de León recall attempts have failed and although he says he doesn't think people have forgotten about the scandal, he believes his focus on improving CD-14 will pay off. Constituent Lydia Hernandez isn't so sure.
"I want to see new leadership. I want to know if somebody is really going to step up rather than Kevin de León, who is failed leader who has neglected us. Who's really going to defend, protect and bring people together in our community?" said Hernandez.
The primary election is March 5.