Through a series of vacancies and some early action, California has suddenly become ground zero for Congressional elections. Here’s the latest news on some of the races.
• CA-32: The special election for Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis’ seat will coincide with the statewide special election on May 19th. The major candidates, Board of Equalization member Judy Chu, State Sen. Gil Cedillo and Obama transition official Emanuel Pleitez, actually met in a forum last week sponsored by the Southwest Voter Registration Project, and the Latino Professional Network. I didn’t learn about it until a press release popped up in my inbox from Cedillo’s press flack touting “Cedillo is Victorious in First Debate”. Seeking a somewhat less biased opinion, I struggled to find a news report until coming across this in the Whittier Daily News.
Immigration issues dominated the agenda when three of the leading Democratic candidates to replace new Labor Secretary Hilda Solis met face to face for the first time at a forum Thursday night.
“Today I met with the president … I could have said anything … what I said was, ‘Mr. President, please stop the raids. Please stop the raids now,’ ” Cedillo said of a meeting with Barack Obama during the president’s town hall meeting in Los Angeles on Thursday.
Cedillo is known for repeatedly introducing legislation to allow undocumented immigrants to obtain drivers licenses, but he said that his legacy goes far beyond: “In 11 years of the legislature … I have written 80 bills signed by three governors. I have fought to defend immigrants, because I believe it is the right thing to do.”
Chu discussed being raised by an immigrant mother in South Central Los Angeles, fighting against an English- only movement in Monterey Park, and pushing legislation in Sacramento to protect outdoor migrant workers and require contracts negotiated in a certain language to be printed in that language.
“I support bills that will bring justice to immigrants. Many times immigrants do not have a voice in the political system, and it is up to us, who are in elected positions, to be able to speak up for them,” she said.
Pleitez, too, was born to an immigrant mother, who crossed the border from Mexico while pregnant with him. He said his childhood growing up at the “mercy of the generosity of the people of my community” in back rooms and back garages of neighbors created a debt that he owes to the district.
“I was able to move on to Stanford University, Goldman Sachs … but I will never forget … this debt that I have,” he said.
“I will leverage my youth to organize around the country … to really pass immigration reform.”
This was the last scheduled debate where every major candidate has committed to attend, and judging from the article, observers found little differentiation between the candidates on the issues. Cedillo vowed not to vote for any health care system that didn’t include immigrants “regardless of immigration status,” but given the audience I would expect that kind of rigidity. I hope there will be a wider range of issues discussed in a public way, and as I have in the past I invite all the candidates to share their views here on Calitics. We should have at least one response in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, PowerPAC, a new group targeted at youth of color which aided President Obama in California and across the nation last year, endorsed Gil Cedillo. He also received the endorsement today of former Assemblyman Ed Chavez.
• CA-10: The field is still assembling after last week’s announcement that Ellen Tauscher will leave Congress to work on arms control policy in the State Department. While Sen. Mark DeSaulnier has not formally announced, such an announcement is expected. In the meantime, Adriel Hampton, a municipal investigator for the San Francisco City Attorney’s office, is among the first to formally announce. Hampton clearly seeks to leverage social media and Web 2.0 (he has a Ning site, in addition to Facebook and Twitter) to create buzz for his outside-the-establishment campaign. Hopefully he’ll pop up around here as well. I’m not seeing a lot of substance behind the “hey kids, let’s put on a Government 2.0 show” announcement, but I’m sure that will come. Perhaps others can fill in the missing pieces here. (Actually, Robert did, below.
Meanwhile, the Yacht Party still must believe that this seat holds the same demographics as it did when it was represented by a Republican in 1996, because they continue to trot out names to contest the seat. Melanie Morgan is touting someone. Yes, Spocko’s Melanie Morgan.
Conservative activist, author and former radio talk show host Melanie Morgan sent an e-mail yesterday saying she’s “squealing like a schoolgirl” to announce that Catherine Moy – executive director of the Move America Forward group of which Morgan is chairwoman; co-author with Morgan of “American Mourning;” and a Fairfield City Council member – will run in the special election to succeed Rep. Ellen Tauscher, assuming Tauscher is confirmed to a high-ranking State Department post.
“The conservative counter-insurgency has begun, and I’m going to do everything in my power to get Cat elected,” Morgan wrote. “Cat has terrific name recognition in the area, a devoted following and she is entirely capable of running this race and winning it – as a rock-solid conservative who has never voted to raise a single tax, and has a solid record on national defense working relentlessly with the largest pro-troops grassroots organization in the country.”
I don’t think Morgan knows what the word “counter-insurgency” means. Will she be seeking out groups inside the district to reconcile differences and win hearts and minds with a movement of primary resistance?
Other Republican names are floating out there, but the one that brings a smile to my face is tom Del Beccaro, Vice Chairman of the Yacht Party and recent founder of a PAC dedicated to stopping the Fairness Doctrine, which has already been stopped by a full vote in the US Senate.
• CA-48: It takes two years to run for Congress at the least, if not multiple cycles. So I appreciate Irvine City Councilwoman Beth Krom’s kickoff in CA-48 to unseat John Campbell, bringing 300 people to Shady Canyon for the affair. Both Steve Young (the most recent candidate in the district) and Rep. Loretta Sanchez enthusiastically endorsed Krom’s candidacy, so expect the field to clear. It’s quixotic, but we need more windmill-tilters taking back red districts.