Hilda Solis Confirmed As Labor Secretary - Race for CA-32 Begins
Minutes ago, the US Senate confirmed Hilda Solis by an 80-17 vote to be the Secretary of Labor. This is a big victory for progressives to fight conservative obstructionism and get a real friend to the labor movement in a top position in Barack Obama's cabinet. It was an unnecessarily long fight, but this is a great resolution. In addition, with Solis having authored the Green Jobs Act, she will undoubtedly be a force for making sure jobs in the alternative energy sector are good union jobs that pay a living wage.
This also means that there will shortly, perhaps as soon as tomorrow, be a vacancy in the 32nd District seat. There are three main candidates for the seat thus far, all of whom have already begun campaigning.
Judy Chu is currently on the Board of Equalization. While a Chinese-American running for a seat that is majority Latino, Chu has the support of the California Federation of Labor, which typically cleans up in these kinds of special elections. That alone makes her the favorite IMO.
Gil Cedillo is a State Senator in the adjoining district, and so he represents very few of these constituents. He has been strong on issues around immigration in particular, and will certainly be formidable in this race.
Emanuel Pleitez worked in the Obama transition team on the Treasury Department. The fact that Treasury has practically no senior officers staffing it save for Tim Geithner, over a month after the inauguration, doesn't really speak well to Pleitez' transition capabilities. But he apparently has the most robust campaign apparatus in the district thus far (with 17 volunteer full-time staff members), and he was born and raised in the district.
The most likely scenario is that either the primary or the general election gets folded into the May 19 special election. Gov. Schwarzenegger has 14 calendar days to set the schedule.