Three Dems Square Off for Money in Race to Replace Hilda Solis


"It does not take a lot of money in these low turnout races, but that doesn't mean a lot of money isn't going to be spent.
"

This wonderful quote comes courtesy of the San Gabriel Valley Tribune and, while these words could serve as a judgment on all small elections gone wild, they specifically describe the 32nd Congressional District race that will decide who will succeed Hilda Solis, who left her seat to become Labor Secretary. The speaker quoted by the Trib is Republican analyst Allan Hoffenblum, who may have been feeling the rush of a little schadenfreude as he surveyed the coming carnage among the Democratic frontrunners Gil Cedillo and Judy Chu. The San Gabriel Valley district is largely Democratic, so whoever wins that party's May 19 primary effectively wins the seat.

The Trib piece revealed that the top three Democratic contenders have raised about $1.5 million as of April 1. That third candidate, Emanuel Pleitez, has been making impressive gains -- at least in fundraising. Pleitez, a financial analyst, is only 26 years old, has worked at Goldman Sachs and comes with an Obama campaign pedigree -- having served on Obama's Treasury Department transition team. Pleitez now has $106,000 in cash on hand -- small compared to his big-name opponents, but impressive considering his novice status. Cedillo, for example, has $441,000 in hand, according to the Trib, while Chu has $578,000.

State Senator Cedillo comes to the dance with a massive list of endorsements from law enforcement and elected officialdom, and will be banking on his Latino heritage and years as a labor leader in L.A. to win over a lot of the Hispanic and union electorate. It remains to be seen how much triage, however, will be required to repair the damage from last Saturday's L.A. Times article detailing his shopaholic spending sprees at high-end stores and restaurants -- and which accomplished with campaign funds. If nothing else, the expose may slow Cedillo's fundraising ability during the critical home stretch in May.

Chu, a former assemblywoman and current member of the state's Board of

Equalization, is not without her own impressive list of supporters

although, through a fluke of ballot ordering, the name of candidate

Betty Chu will appear above hers -- a juxtaposition that can do her no

good in an election that is expected to see a light turnout. Judy Chu,

too, is also a strong supporter of unions, and is well-known and liked

within an L.A. labor movement, headed by Maria Elena Durazo, that has

become increasingly feminized with the ascent of more women union

leaders and the growth of service-section unions.

Chu, a former assemblywoman and current member of the state's Board of

Equalization, is not without her own impressive list of supporters

although, through a fluke of ballot ordering, the name of candidate

Betty Chu will appear above hers -- a juxtaposition that can do her no

good in an election that is expected to see a light turnout. Judy Chu,

too, is also a strong supporter of unions, and is well-known and liked

within an L.A. labor movement, headed by Maria Elena Durazo, that has

become increasingly feminized with the ascent of more women union

leaders and the growth of service-section unions.


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