Chu wins Dem nod for Solis's former seat

California Board of Equalization member Judy Chu is likely headed for Congress after winning the Democratic nomination in the special election for Labor Secretary Hilda Solis’s (D-Calif.) former House seat.

Chu defeated state Sen. Gil Cedillo 32-23 in the open primary. She will face Republican Betty Chu, who is reportedly a non-blood relative, in the July 14 special election.

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Betty Chu won the GOP nomination by winning the largest share of the vote among Republicans — 10 percent — and will face an uphill battle in a heavily Democratic Los Angeles County district.

The runoff is necessary because no candidate gained a majority of the vote. California awards the major parties each a nominee for the runoff, so even though Betty Chu placed fourth overall, she will leapfrog two Democrats — Cedillo and Emanuel Pleitez — into the runoff.

Pleitez’s 14 percent of the vote likely played a big role in Judy Chu’s win, as he helped split up the Hispanic vote that Cedillo was counting on.

Should Judy Chu go on to win the runoff, she could face a racially potent primary challenge from a Hispanic candidate in the majority-Hispanic district. Asian-Americans represent only about one-fifth of the district, meaning Chu's base would be considerably smaller than a Hispanic candidate's.