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Judy Chu trounces rivals in congressional race [Updated]

July 14, 2009 | 10:54 pm

State Board of Equalization member Judy Chu has won the special election for the 32nd Congressional District seat to become the first Chinese American woman in the House of Representatives.

With 100% of the ballots counted, Chu, a Democrat, had 62% of the vote in Tuesday's election for the San Gabriel Valley-based seat vacated when Hilda Solis became U.S. Labor secretary.

Republican Betty Tom Chu, Judy Chu's cousin by marriage, was a distant second with  33%.   The third candidate on the ballot, Christopher M. Agrella, a  Libertarian, polled 5%.

Judy Chu became a crossover candidate in the district traditionally represented by a Latino by building a multi-ethnic coalition and winning the backing of organized labor.   She emerged in first place in a 12-way primary May 19 but fell short of the majority needed to avoid a runoff.

As the vote tally neared an end, California Democratic Party Chairman John Burton congratulated Judy Chu and issued the following statement:

“The California Democratic Party is excited to have Judy Chu as our newly elected Congresswoman in Congressional District 32.  Chu is an experienced legislator and committed Democrat who will improve the lives of the people she will represent.

“Chu will play an integral role in helping Speaker Nancy Pelosi and President Barack Obama advance a national agenda to improve our schools, reform health care and create more middle-class jobs for Americans.”

The district is heavily Democratic.

--Jean Merl