California: Chu Defeats Chu to Win Solis’ Seat

Posted July 15, 2009 at 6:41pm

California Board of Equalization Vice Chairwoman Judy Chu (D) was elected to replace former Rep. Hilda Solis (D) in a low-turnout affair Tuesday. President Barack Obama called Chu Wednesday to congratulate her on being the first Chinese-American woman elected to Congress.

Chu cruised to victory over Monterey Park City Councilwoman Betty Tom Chu (R), 62 percent to 33 percent (the two Chus are cousins by marriage, according to the Los Angeles Times). Christopher Agrella, the Libertarian candidate, took 5 percent of the vote.

Judy Chu, who has served in the state Assembly, as mayor of Monterey Park and on the local school board, will be sworn in this morning. The 32nd district seat, east of Los Angeles, has been vacant since Solis was sworn in as secretary of Labor in late February.

According to campaign finance reports released this week, Judy Chu spent almost $1.2 million on the race through June 24 — most of it to win a special open primary in May over state Sen. Gil Cedillo (D) and several other candidates. Chu loaned her campaign $50,000.

EMILY’s List, which backed Chu in the primary, released a statement Wednesday noting that the Congresswoman-elect is the 80th Democratic woman the pro-abortion-rights group has helped elect since its inception in 1988.

“It is important to celebrate these milestones and marvel at how far we’ve come since 1988, when there were just 12 lonely Democratic women in the House,— EMILY’s List President Ellen Malcolm said. “Our work is far from done. At 17 percent, women are still far from parity in the U.S. Congress, but every victory brings us one step closer.—