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May 20, 2009

Chu wins California special election

California Democrat Judy Chu, vice-chairwoman of the state’s Board of Equalization, is one step closer to Congress after winning the Democratic nomination in a special election primary to succeed former Rep. Hilda Solis.

With 220 of 222 precincts reporting, Chu comfortably outdistanced Democratic state senator Gil Cedillo by over 4,000 votes, 32 to 23 percent. Emanuel Pleitez, a political newcomer, finished a strong third with 14 percent.

Chu’s margin of victory was impressive, given that Hispanics make up about half of the electorate in the San Gabriel Valley-based district. She campaigned on her experience representing the community, and ability to win support from both Hispanic and Asian-American voters.

Chu earned significant institutional backing from the Hispanic community, winning endorsements from Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and the two Latino assemblymen who hold seats within the congressional district boundaries.

Chu will face Republican Betty Chu in a July 14 special election runoff, but is expected to easily prevail in the heavily-Democratic district.