On Sunday, I attended an event in at the home a gay couple named Curtis Chin and Jeff Kim at a loft in downtown Los Angeles which brought together Asian American LGBTs and their allies to support Judy Chu’s run for the 32nd Congressional District seat. The event was attended by the first LGBT person of color to be elected to the California Legislature, John Pérez who introduced the current member of the State Board of Equalization to the assembled crowd of about 75 attendees. Other people in attendance were Cary Davidson, Board President of Equality California, Vincent Wong and Andrew Ogilvie (Board Members of The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force), Marshall Wong and Doreena Wong (Board Co-Chairs of API Equality Los Angeles) and Rita Gonzalez (Board President of Bienestar).
When she spoke, Judy Chu gave a number of reasons why she expects to win the race, the first was Experience. She has been representing different portions of the 32nd district for 23 years, having been elected 9 different times in School Board, City Council, Assembly and state Board of Equalization races. The second reason was Money. She said that her goal was to raise $750,000 and has so far raised $425,000 and Governor Schwarzenegger has until Tuesday to announce when the Special Election will occur (which is likely to coincide with the statewide special election already set for Tuesday May 19th). The third was Endorsements, especially Labor. She has been endorsed by all three assemblymembers who represent portions of the 32nd Congressional District: (Chu’s husband) Mike Eng (49th AD), Kevin de Leon (45th AD where MadProfessah lives and serves as an elected representative on the Democratic State Central Committee) and Ed Hernandez (57th AD).
In addition, she said that she has been endorsed by all 7 of the 7 police officers associations in the district as well as 75 elected officials who represent portions of the 32nd CD while “her opponent” has only 10 elected officials. In addition, Chu has been endorsed by the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, which has identified 40, 000 union households in the district. In a 15% turnout election, it probably takes less than 20,000 votes to win the Democratic primary, which is tantamount to winning the election in such a Democratic-leaning CD.
Chu never actually mentioned Gil Cedillo by name until she was asked by an audience member how many other people were running and then she explained that there are 5 other people running but characterized her and State Senator Cedillo as the two “major candidates” in the race. She invited people to her campaign kick-off event on Saturday March 14th.
The 32nd Congressional District contains 10 separate cities: El Monte, South El Monte, West Covina, Azusa, Covina, Rosemead, Baldwin Park, Monterey Park, Duarte and Irwindale. It is estimated to be 60% Latino and 20% Asian. However, it looks like ths CA-32 race is going to be hard-fought but not as racially divisive as the CA-37 race was in summer 2007 between African Americans (Laura Richardson) and Latinos (Jenny Oropeza) over the the late Juanita Millender McDonald’s seat that was won by Richardson.