CA-32: The Fight To Replace Hilda Solis Begins
by Todd Beeton, Sun Mar 08, 2009 at 04:11:27 PM EDT
At the beginning of March, there were three vacant House seats: Rahm Emanuel's (IL-05), Kirsten Gillibrand's (NY-20) and newly confirmed Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis's (CA-32.) As of the end of this month, the special Democratic primary in Solis's Southern California district will be the last of the three -- most likely to be folded into the May 19th CA statewide special -- and it's shaping up to be fairly interesting.
In the field so far are three candidates: CA Board of Equalization Chair Judy Chu, State Senator Gil Cedillo and former Obama Treasury transition member Emanuel Pleitez. The district has a D+17 partisan voting index and so whoever wins the primary can be assured to win the election. The demographics of the district make this race extremely interesting. Judy Chu has represented the largely Asian Monterey Park Assembly district but the congressional district is just about 18% Asian and 60% Hispanic. Hence Gil Cedillo swooping in to run for a congressional district that does not overlap with his nearby State Senate district at all. Pleitez will be competing with Cedillo for the hispanic vote but the fact remains that only Chu has a local voting base.
I attended Cedillo's launch event in El Monte yesterday where Rep. Xavier Becerra officially endorsed Cedillo in front of a 95% hispanic -- and very enthusiastic -- audience and joined other local hispanic leaders on stage to rally on behalf of Cedillo.
David Dayen of Calitics was there as well:
Cedillo will have the backing of the Latino political establishment in the area. The big news yesterday was that Rep. Xavier Becerra, of the neighboring district of CA-31, was out to endorse. He joins the local county supervisor Gloria Molina, the local city councilman Ed Reyes (a small part of the district includes LA City), former Rep. Esteban Torres, and several other councilmembers and local politicos in giving their endorsement to Cedillo. Molina even intimated that Congressional Hispanic Caucus support would be coming. There was some not-all-that-subtle rhetoric about "our community" and "our people."
But I think he's right to be skeptical of the size and enthusiasm of the crowd as an indicator of the likelihood of Cedillo to win the hispanic vote in the district.
I don't know how many of those young people are eligible to vote, however, and in particular, eligible in that district. Cedillo will have no shortage of volunteers, but he doesn't completely have a voting base inside the district, having never represented it. Outside of Molina, the endorsees are not by and large from the population centers of the district, either.
Not to mention the fact that Chu has been endorsed by an impressive array of hispanic leaders herself and has received perhaps the most important endorsement in what is likely to be a lowturnout election, the California Labor Federation.
While not the most consequential race in the world (the fact is that one progressive will be replaced by another) this is going to be a pretty interesting race. Expect many updates from the ground over the next few months.