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Free Citizen

This writer espouses individual liberty, free markets, and limited government.

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Location: Jackson, Mississippi, United States

Thursday, January 08, 2009

East L. A. May Choose Chu For Congress

POLITICO has a post on the upcoming special U. S. House election in a southern California district. This is for the seat that is being vacated by Democratic representative Hilda Solis, who has been picked by President-elect Obama as labor secretary. The thrust of the piece is that an Asian-American, Judy Chu, a former Democratic mayor and assemblywoman, could win in the majority-Latino district because of the Latino vote being split among a number of candidates.

"All the candidates will run on a single ballot in the special primary election. If any one of them wins a majority [50-plus percent] of votes, that candidate takes the seat outright. Otherwise, the top two vote-getters will square off eight weeks later in a special general election..."

This is correct that all the candidates will be listed on a single ballot. But if no one gets 50-plus percent, the top vote-getter FROM EACH PARTY, along with any independents, will advance to the general election. As the article notes, the Republicans are not expected to be competitive in this east Los Angeles district.

The piece also refers to Democratic congressman Steve Cohen of Memphis, who first won in the 2006 regular election to succeed Harold Ford Jr., who was the Democratic nominee for U. S. senator against the Republican Bob Corker. The House district is majority black, and Cohen, who is white, was elected because the black vote was divided among multiple candidates.

The House race, of course, was essentially decided in the Democratic primary, which Cohen won with 31 percent, as 50-plus percent was not required. Tennessee is the only former Confederate state that has never had party runoff (or second) primaries (Florida abolished second primaries in 2002).

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