Update on California’s 32nd Congressional Race

April 17th, 2009 · 37 Comments

The race in California’s 32nd Congressional district, which was the seat held by now Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis, has become pretty interesting. This seat will most likely remain in the Democrats’ column, and a lot of people are taking notice because it is a heavily Latino populated district. And there are two Latinos in the primary race, State Senator Gil Cedillo and Emanuel Pleitez. The other top contender is Dr. Judy Chu, who has substantial labor support and has raised the most money.

There are two particularly interesting blog posts at SiTV about this race profiling both Cedillo and Pleitez. I encourage you to read them and chime in with your own thoughts.

The latest from the fundraising totals as of the end of March reveal that Chu has raised the most money, followed by Cedillo and then Pleitez. We have addressed the piece (what some are calling as hit piece) that came out regarding Cedillo’s campaign expenses for his state senate seat last week, but it should be noted that aside from the spending revealed in the LA Times article, Senator Cedillo has donated money from his campaign stash to charitable causes and other candidates. In fairness, I do think that comparing Cedillo’s campaign spending to that of Judy Chu’s is a bit like examining apples vs. oranges because he is a state senator with a leadership role in the Latino Legislative Caucus, while she is a member of the state Board of Equalization (the tax commission). State senators, in my view, are more high profile. I would doubt that most Californians could not name who is on the state Board of Equalization.

Tags: Gil Cedillo · Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis

37 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Anna // Apr 17, 2009 at 9:07 pm

    I hope the Latinos don’t split their vote.

  • 2 Anna // Apr 17, 2009 at 9:24 pm

    Emanuel Pleitez is a financial analyst at Goldman Sachs. For those who don’t know, Goldman Sachs played a role in the financial crisis and they have benefitted big time from bailout money. Paulson and Geithner are from Goldman Sachs. That brokerage (or whatever they are now) is well represented in our government.

  • 3 DelToro // Apr 18, 2009 at 8:14 pm

    Cedillo is a joke. Another pay-off artist who takes money so he can live a lifestyle he would never be able to create for himself outside of political contributions.(cf. bribes). His greatest accomplishment has been bringing his “CDL for illegal aliens” to a vote 3 or 4 times. Other than that zip, zilch…nada. This guy is another latino hack who is playing on the politics of race. Go ahead and follow his lead. Just another guy who’s interest in all things non-US citizen is only trumped by his greed for a payoff.

  • 4 Mexitli // Apr 20, 2009 at 4:05 pm

    “Anna // Apr 17, 2009 at 9:24 pm

    Emanuel Pleitez is a financial analyst at Goldman Sachs. For those who don’t know, Goldman Sachs played a role in the financial crisis and they have benefitted big time from bailout money. Paulson and Geithner are from Goldman Sachs. That brokerage (or whatever they are now) is well represented in our government.”

    Yup. And that why Lehman Brothers was allowed to go broke.

    Anyway, Cedillo gets my vote.

  • 5 Michaelr // Apr 20, 2009 at 9:19 pm

    It’s that type of critical thinking that keeps Mexican-Americans at the bottom of the political pyramid. Thank you Mexitli… for being so analytical in your political choices. That example is sure to rock the vote, and send another worthless flojo to the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.

  • 6 Mexitli // Apr 20, 2009 at 9:41 pm


    What critical thinking?

    Re-read my post but this time try to comprehend it.

    I did not give any logic as to why I am voting for him.

    I could, but what’s the point?

    P.S. Since when is someone’s vote an example?

  • 7 Anna // Apr 21, 2009 at 7:24 am


    You put people down without providing any analysis of your own unless you call complaining and insults analysis. The choice in that race is between Cedillo and Pleitez. So who would you vote for and why?

  • 8 Michaelr // Apr 21, 2009 at 11:28 am

    Judy Chu.

    Cedillo has openly prostituted his public office, using the proceeds from his campaign funds to flaunt thousand dollar bar tabs, a life of consumer excess utilizing personal shoppers, while accomplishing very little legislation of value up in Sacramento. He embraces the stereotype that Latino politicians should run away from, instead like Fabian Nunez, he promotes it, and publicly relishes in it.

    Pleitez is campaigning as an idealist promoting change. Anyone who interacts with politicians knows that this is something you do silently with action, not openly with verbal announcements. If you declare your intentions publicly like Pleitez already has, you provide your competition and your enemies with a road map to disable all your goals and intentions. I admire his efforts to put himself out there; however his political approach is seriously flawed. And I remain unconvinced of his public intentions based on this initial strategy.

    To accomplish anything in Congress, you have to lead by example and continually fuel the court of public opinion. You have to network with other politicians who share, or need to embrace publicly the same ideals, and work to build a consensus that will enable you to pass legislation that has real impact in your district, or state. Touring and flying around the world, buying French wine, buying Louis Vuitton gifts, spending 140K for Christmas cards, $1000 bar tabs, engaging in public drunkenness, engaging in scandalous behavior, profiteering from social calamities, producing very little legislation and then boasting about the one of two bills you have managed to produce in a decade are political behavioral traits unbecoming of public servants.

    Judy Chu seems intelligent, conveys commitment, and hasn’t humiliated herself publicly yet. Of the three people running for California’s 32nd Congressional district, she emulates Hilda Solis’ public persona the most. And its public servants like Hilda Solis who need to be replicated in Congress for anything to change.

  • 9 DelToro // Apr 21, 2009 at 1:06 pm

    “Change” is a weak and over-used campaign slogan. It’s chief architect now occupies the highest office in the land and is failing miserably.


    What you don’t understand is Chu is not latino and thus was never considered. Politics by race by those who claim that they are victims of racism. Laughable.

  • 10 Mexitli // Apr 21, 2009 at 1:34 pm

    Just yesterday I received the mailers for Chu and Cedillo. Pleitez’s arrived on Sat.

    Chu’s got quite a war chest. Good for her. But her approach is basically a negative in nature. And that’s a turn off for me.

    She is, however, endorsed by Solis and L.A.Mayor Villaraigosa as well as by Dolores Huerta.

    I just spoke to Chu’s office and they will get back to me on 1, Her position on comprehensive immigration reform and 2, Her position on driver’s licenses for the undocumented.

    Cedillo, on the other hand, is not a criminal. If he has done something unethical or illegal then let’s see it.

    Note: High falutin is not a crime. (Originally used to denote Nuñez’s spending habits then later Cedillo’s spending habits were likened to Nuñez’s.)

    Cedillo is endorsed by people I respect very much. 1, Gloria Molina 2, Sheriff Baca and 3, Gloria Romero.

    Cedillo has the experience, connections and reputation needed to fill Solis’ seat.

    The Minutemen have dubbed him “one bill Gil” because of his undaunted, tenacious efforts to obtain driver’s licenses for the undocumented.

    I like that.

    I’ve been a voter and registered member of the CA democratic party since 1978.

    National elections are nice to keep up with but to me all politics are local.

    As for Pleitez, ese niño ni sabe como bañarse.
    lol. Just kidding.

  • 11 Michaelr // Apr 21, 2009 at 1:40 pm

    I will not comment on what has just been written here.

  • 12 theKaiser // Apr 21, 2009 at 2:01 pm

    Ooo come on Michaelr… unleash that verbal political fury you’re so famous for. Those of us who actually know you have been waiting for the right literary format for you to reveal where all the bodies are buried. And this is the blog where you should do it. Quit teasing these uninformed people who buy all the network television bylines and vote for people because they have Spanish surnames. Can you believe this guy Mexitli? He actually says he respects Lee Baca. Tell us everything you know about Gil Cedillo. Give us something that will make Cedillo really nervous. Don’t let the voters go out there and vote in total ignorance. How many envelopes have you personally given to Gil Cedillo? Come on…how many?

  • 13 Bearguez // Apr 21, 2009 at 2:12 pm

    I gotta agree with theKaiser, Michael. You should reveal all those incidents about Gil Cedillo before the voter sends another public thief to Congress. Come on Michael. The last thing you want is for our Congressional representatives to emulate those in Mexico. And the Congressional Hispanic Caucus is real close to that right now.

  • 14 El Cholo // Apr 21, 2009 at 2:37 pm

    Adding Gil Cedillo to Congress will just make Raul Grijalva the sole productive legislator in the CHC. This child Pleitez could turn out to be something positive, but Michaelr is probably right, he’s bound to be marginalized based on his campaign strategy, and that arrogant manner of his. We’re really screwed here with these choices.

  • 15 Mexitli // Apr 21, 2009 at 2:38 pm

    If Chu wants my vote she can stop the negative campaign ads and instead point out that Cedillo does not live in the 23rd.

    That would make me reconsider. But if it’s not an issue for her then it’s not an issue for me either.

  • 16 DoctorH // Apr 21, 2009 at 2:42 pm

    Yes Michael, tell us something we don’t know about Gil Cedillo. I’ll make sure I pull the checklist from his file.

  • 17 DelToro // Apr 21, 2009 at 6:32 pm

    If Mexitli thinks that CDLs for illegal aliens and Comprehensive “AMNESTY” Immigration Reform” is the way to go then the discussion is moot. The comedy in this is that while the state and the nation will be

  • 18 Anna // Apr 21, 2009 at 6:52 pm

    We have worked so hard to get political representation, and I hate to see us lose a Congressional seat in addition to the Senate seat we lost when Salazar joined the Cabinet. You might think I’m overreacting, but I remember when we didn’t have ANY political representation, and it wasn’t that long ago.

  • 19 Mexitli // Apr 21, 2009 at 8:20 pm

    @ Anna

    “but I remember when we didn’t have ANY political representation, and it wasn’t that long ago.”

    Same here. I remember when Roybal would get reelected over and over again because no one knew he was Mexican.

    It saddened me to see this board lower its expectations when “that one” did not pick Richardson for VP. Then he was overlooked a second time for S.O.S., a position he was undoubtedly the best qualified for.

    This board then ratcheted down to Sec. of Labor.

    Not to take away from Ms. Solis, of course.

    But I wonder if in 50 years from now will our young people still have to put up with this?

  • 20 DelToro // Apr 21, 2009 at 11:08 pm

    Hopefully in 50 years the young people will be more educated and evolved. Hopefully they will pick leaders based on the “content of their charater rather than the color of their skin”. Hopefully they will be far less racist than many on this blog.

  • 21 Anna // Apr 22, 2009 at 8:50 pm

    I guess “less racist” means voting against your own interests, while everybody else vote for theirs. It means forgettting your own history, while everybody else remembers theirs. We have political power, but some people are determined to give it away. If we vote for Latinos, according to this twisted mentality, it means that we must be voting based on skin color and nothing else. It couldn’t be a vote based on the issues. If we vote for a non-Latino it means that we’ve evolved and are voting on “character.”

    What racist BS. That’s propaganda to keep us politically underrepresented.

    Del Toro, I bet if you held political office, you’d be bending over to ALL the Kings all over the world.


  • 22 Michaelr // Apr 22, 2009 at 11:34 pm

    Del Toro: What you are reading in commentaries from Anna, is apologist dialogue. She truly wants to believe in her heart that all Spanish surname politicians and public servants are committed to their ethnic communities and are fighting tooth and nail to advance the political causes presented by the Latino community. Of course anyone who has relationships, and has engaged face to face with the vast majority of state and federal politicians knows this textbook analogy isn’t even close to reality. Politics is a guttural business constantly wallowing in muck, and it is fully populated with people of the lowliest characters. Many of the politicians highlighted on a regular basis on this blog are individuals of criminal status, and they would all be in prison if they were not protected by their political status. I would love to believe like Anna, and see that world through her rosy colored glasses. But the time I have spent engaging with so many of these people has already deadened my spirits. There are other commentators on this blog who aren’t worth your time because their ignorance completely blinds them to the world around them. But that’s not Anna’s case. She just wants to believe.

  • 23 DelToro // Apr 23, 2009 at 11:41 am

    Interesting take Michaelr. I suppose if Anna is just truly a “Dreamer” than what I read as naivite and the thought that ethnopolitics is o.k. as long as you are the one practicing it could be understood. It sure seems to me that she seems to think only latinos can represent latinos. A practice that would never be openly tolerated if it was whites that we were talking about. I have never understood why anyone thinks that just because you share skin color or a similar sounding surname with someone they are looking out for your best interest. I do know that when my “white” friends practice supposed ethnopolitics they are racist. When latinos and blacks do it we are “looking out for our best interest”. The biggest joke is that the politicians have fooled so many that they care.

  • 24 Michaelr // Apr 23, 2009 at 1:49 pm

    Your term ethno-politics is really all we have. Although Senator Edward Kennedy has done more politically for Latino culture than the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, MALDEF, and the NCLR combined, he is not going to be around forever and there isn’t anyone to take his place. Henry Cisneros is positioning himself to carry this mantle, but he is carrying a lot of political baggage, and is a man of extremely low character. Raul Grijalva D-7th Dist from Arizona and Hilda Solis are true blue public servants, but they don’t have the political insider’s savvy, nor the public charisma to lead a movement. And a movement is necessary to promote and institute real political change. The working behavior of most of the Latino politicians at the Federal and State levels vastly resembles the working behavior of Latin American politicians governing the Third World. And you know what those politicians are all about. We’ve studied and talked about this political dilemma for decades and have identified numerous causes, but have yet to formulate and follow a concise plan which would promote a cultural evolution of sorts. Then again, none of this is really news. On the whole intelligent Latinos of character are simply not interested in participating in politics at a state, or national level. I think the abuses at the local political level promote such a bad taste, they choose different career paths. And that’s terrible because we certainly need them…now.

  • 25 DelToro // Apr 23, 2009 at 4:19 pm

    I disagree Michalr. We need leaders of all races to stand up and be honorable people who lead and do the right things regardless of race. I should be able to count on my Assemblyperson, Senator or President regardless of our ethnic backgrounds. I don’t believe for a moment that Senator Kennedy has done anything other than keep latinos right were he wants them. In his voting pocket but no better off in society. I don’t believe that my Assemblyman, Van Tran is unable to represent me because he is Vietnamese. However, he has dropped that ball like all other California legislators. I don’t believe for one minute that Loretta Sanchez is looking out for “my best interest”. This should all be moot anyway because we are in the post-racial bliss of our new President. Right?

  • 26 WhatThe.. // Apr 23, 2009 at 6:55 pm

    I agree with DelToro. We often place to much attention on race when dealing with American politics. I believe it is important not to forget your past, but remember where your convictions and loyalties lie. When I’m out of the country, I never tell customs I’m Mexican American or American of Hispanic descent; I just say I am an American. The rest is unnecessary information. When your in America, this phoenomenom is everywhere. I believe this is divisive, when we have to accent our American citizenship with race. When we can look at everyone as Americans, we will be stronger politically regarding the needs we address, and eliminate a racial divide.

  • 27 DelToro // Apr 23, 2009 at 8:50 pm

    Well said Whatthe. I also think a great by-product of eleminating this identity politics and showing solidarity in an “Us” vs. Them(city, county, state and national politicians) would be the fact it would scare the “S%^T” out of them. I have far more in common with my ______fill in the blank ethnicity neighbor or coworker than with Villar, Cedillo, Feinstein, Rorbacher, Obama etc. We are in it together.

  • 28 Anna // Apr 23, 2009 at 11:14 pm

    MICHAELR: “the politicians highlighted on a regular basis on this blog are individuals of criminal status, and they would all be in prison if they were not protected by their political status.”

    ANNA: Care to provide any proof of that? Just because you believe that some representatives are ineffective, mediocre or even incompetent, it does not make them criminal or corrupt. It’s hard to take anything you say seriously when you make unfounded accusations about people.

    As for your contention that I’m a dreamer, I disagree. I know that some of these people are not that great, but I see this as a process. Most of these seats only became available to Latinos in the early 90s, and many of the people already involved in politics were working class people in the UFW and the unions, and they’re the ones who ran for office. That won’t always be the case.

    It takes time to build a political foundation and like it or not, we’re still in the early stages. As I said before, I remember when we didn’t have any representation at all.

    I think it’s important to hold on to these seats because they were so difficult to win. They used to divide our districts into four or five different districts to prevent us from being able to vote for anybody would represent us.

    Don’t forget, Hilda Solis replaced the Marty Martinez. But it’s much more difficult to replace a seat that’s been lost.

    If Chu wins, that seat is gone. As of a few weeks ago, she had raised almost 1 million dollars from outside of the district. (I would love to see a list of her donors, but I can’t find one.)

    In future elections, she will be bankrolled by the Democratic Party, Emily’s List, and business interests.

    I probably won’t convince you Michaelr because I think your issues have little to do with politics. But I hope somebody who lives in that district will read this post and get a clue.

  • 29 DelToro // Apr 24, 2009 at 6:18 am

    Game, set and match. Only latinos can represent latinos. Right Anna? Racism is alive and well. You make more accusations about corrupt politicians than anyone else but none of them are latino. You make accusations of newspapers covering for people but none of them are latino. You do all this with no evidence. Unbelievable.

  • 30 Michaelr // Apr 24, 2009 at 10:43 am

    Cash…Anna, envelopes of cash for rendering services all circumventing federal, state, and local laws. A lot of your state and federal political deities spend the bulk of their waking hours engaging in this practice, hence their long absences from the legislative and public duties. They are the point men orchestrating downward this cash economy, feeding certain local politicians, certain superior court judges and certain law-enforcement officials. I realize this may be too complicated for your mind to grasp, but if you’re going build a reputable coalition of Latino politicians who have and will rise above the muck, you have only three female Latino politicians you can really rely on. The rest are in essence, criminals.

  • 31 Anna // Apr 24, 2009 at 10:53 am

    Give names and specific criminal acts otherwise you’re talking out of your pie hole.

  • 32 Michaelr // Apr 24, 2009 at 12:12 pm

    I’ve already done that.

  • 33 Anna // Apr 24, 2009 at 12:37 pm

    No, you haven’t. The blogosphere is waiting for your evidence.

  • 34 Michaelr // Apr 24, 2009 at 2:39 pm

    If I was as guttural and profane person as you are, I would have done that. The U.S. Attorney’s office has been doing its own investigation. I just simply connected a lot of their dots.

  • 35 Anna // Apr 24, 2009 at 2:57 pm

    I think your tin foil hat is on too tight.

  • 36 DelToro // Apr 26, 2009 at 7:09 pm


    The saddest part in all of this is that with your thinking we will continue to get the same trashy people who care nothing for us. The people most hurt by this naivite are those working hard everyday, casting their votes in the hopes that some guy with the same last name with a cousin from the same town in Vera Cruz as he is looking our for his best interest. Your blindness hurts your own the most.

  • 37 Dante // May 18, 2009 at 6:10 am

    Back to Anna’s original point about not splitting the vote, all the numbers say that this is either going to be Cedillo or Chu. And Cedillo is clearly more committed to Latino issues. It’s not that non-Latinos like Teddy Kennedy can’t also do good work but it’s the job of district voters to put people in congress that represent the district’s interests and over half of this district happens to be Latino.

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