Matsui Wins Special Election in a Landslide

Posted March 9, 2005 at 9:28am

Doris Matsui (D) was elected by an overwhelming margin Tuesday in California’s 5th district, becoming the 46th widow to succeed her husband in Congress.

Matsui, a 60-year-old lobbyist and former Clinton administration official, boarded a plane to Washington, D.C., early this morning and is scheduled to be sworn in on Thursday.

In a 12-way, all-party primary, in which all the candidates appeared on one ballot regardless of political affiliation, Matsui pulled in more than 71 percent of the vote. Law school dean Julie Padilla, a fellow Democrat, was a distant second, taking just 7 percent. John Thomas Flynn, a onetime aide to former California Gov. Pete Wilson (R), was the top-finishing Republican, taking 6 percent.

The special election was made necessary after the sudden death of Rep. Robert Matsui (D) on New Year’s Day. Robert Matsui, who had just finished a term as chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, was elected in the 5th district 14 times.

“It feels bittersweet, but my heart is full of hope and promise,” Doris Matsui told The Associated Press on Tuesday night. “This was a time when most of us wish we didn’t have to be here, but that was not the way it was going to be.”

Doris Matsui is expected to get a slot on the Rules Committee, and she may get a plum assignment on the Budget Committee as well.

— Josh Kurtz