CA-32: Introducing Judy Chu For Congress
by Todd Beeton, Wed Apr 08, 2009 at 03:08:20 PM EDT
On Tuesday, May 19, as all Californians go back to the polls to vote on a series of ballot initiatives, voters in the 32nd district (which stretches throughout the San Gabriel Valley from east of downtown Los Angeles all the way to Covina), will be voting in the primary to fill the latest vacancy in the House left over from the Obama transition, that of Barack Obama's new Labor Secretary, Hilda Solis.
Monday was the deadline for candidates to file and the field is now set at 12 including 8 Democrats and 3 Republicans. All candidates will be on the same ballot and any voter, regardless of party ID, may vote for any one of them. If a candidate gets 50%+, he or she wins the seat outright; if not, then the top vote-getters from each party face off in the general election on July 14. Because of the make-up of the district, the general election is really more of a formality. CA-32 chose Barack Obama over John McCain in November 68%-29% and Democrats have a more than 2 to 1 registration advantage over Republicans there. The May 19th Democratic primary is the election.
Out of the field of 8 Democrats, just two are considered truly viable: Board of Equalization member Judy Chu and State Senator Gil Cedillo. I am supporting and have proudly joined the campaign of Judy Chu because her 23 year record of public service gives me confidence that she will serve as a faithful partner to help carry out Barack Obama's agenda and continue Hilda Solis's progressive legacy in Washington, DC.
So, is there a frontrunner? Well, considering the dynamics of the race, it's difficult to argue that it is anything but a toss-up although in one significant respect Judy Chu is considered by many to be the underdog. Conventional wisdom is that it will be difficult for a Chinese-American to win a majority hispanic district (the district is 60% hispanic and 20% Asian-American.) But there are three things going for her that can help Judy Chu overcome this hurdle:
- Judy is the only Democrat in the race with a voting base within the district. Beginning in 1985 when Judy won a seat on the Garvey School Board in Rosemead, she has been elected and re-elected by CA-32 voters to city council, the Assembly and the Board of Equalization where she currently sits as Vice Chair. Gil Cedillo on the other hand has never represented a single precinct within the district.
- Judy has been endorsed by Hilda Solis's family. While Hilda is staying out of electoral politics as a member of the new administration, the friendship between Hilda Solis and Judy Chu goes back two decades. When Secretary Solis's sister Irma recently publicly endorsed Judy on behalf of her entire family, it was seen as a tacit endorsement by Hilda and a passing of the torch. The endorsement of the Solis's is a very real reminder of Judy's reputation in the district of bringing all communities throughout the district together. It's no accident that Judy has also won the endorsement of all three members of the Assembly that cover the district: Ed Hernandez, Kevin DeLeon and Mike Eng (who, I should note, is Judy's husband.)
- Judy has won the lion's share of labor endorsements including SEIU and the Los Angeles County Labor Federation. In a low turnout election as this is expected to be, the army of boots on the ground these endorsements afford Judy's campaign should prove to be a huge boost. In the 32nd district alone there are 40,000 union member households whose doors faithful union activists will knock on and whose phone numbers they will call.
This certainly already has been and will continue to be an interesting race. I look forward to writing a lot more about Judy between now and May 19th. You can learn more about Judy at JudyChu.net and contribute to her campaign over at ActBlue.