Race to Fill Solis' Congressional Seat Gets Interesting

Twelve candidates are seeking to replace Hilda Solis, now U.S. secretary of Labor, in Congress by winning a special election May 19 for her east Los Angeles 32nd District seat. The Whittier Daily News, which is covering this and other races, considers Democrats Gilbert Cedillo, a Los Angeles state senator, and Judy Chu, vice chair of the California State Board of Equalization, the front runners. But Chu has a problem Cedillo doesn't face: A Republican named Chu entered the race, and her name will appear immediately above Judy Chu's on the ballot.

Republican Betty Chu is a member of the Monterey Park, Calif., city council. Monterey Park is a city only 7.73 square miles in size in the San Gabriel Valley east of Los Angeles.

This race is an open ballot, meaning all 12 candidates are listed together. If any candidate wins 50 percent of the votes or more May 19, that candidate wins the seat. If not, the candidates from each party with the highest vote totals will square off July 14 in the general election. The Board of Equalization administers sales and property taxes throughout California.

Solis won five terms in Congress as a staunch ally of organized labor. Cedillo has a similar background. He was president of Service Employees International Union Local 660 (now Local 721) from 1991 to 1996. He earned a 100 percent rating in the California Labor Federation's annual legislative scorecard released March 5 and announced he was one of only nine state senators to earn a perfect score. "We have a long history with the labor movement in this state, and I am proud to continue that work in the legislature," Cedillo said in a release about the rating. "We've fought to preserve county jobs and secure funding for an ailing public health care system in Los Angeles and passed laws that protect police, fire, health care workers, and teachers across the state in the legislature."

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