| In 2007, Calitics watched as Laura Richardson ran a nasty, race-baiting campaign in a special election in CA-37, emphasizing that the seat "should be held by someone from our community" and using what amounts to an identity politics wedge to carry her to victory. We found that distasteful, and hoped that Democrats in future campaigns would not resort to such dirty politics. When the race to replace Hilda Solis in CA-32 began, we thought the candidates, nominally progressive Democrats, would highlight their policy positions and positive attributes instead of using divisive tactics. The major candidates, Board of Equalization member Judy Chu, State Sen. Gil Cedillo and former Obama transition official Emanuel Pleitez, all espoused generally progressive ideas throughout the campaign. But then again, so did Richardson, and we do believe that, at some level, how you campaign does dictate how you govern.
Therefore, we have been extremely disappointed in Gil Cedillo's divisive and often false attacks on his rivals. He started his campaign talking about "our community" and "our people", clearly attempting to play upon a Latino/Asian divide inside the district, which has a larger Hispanic population (which is an odd tactic for someone like Cedillo, who has never represented anyone from the 32nd district, to take). Cedillo's blatantly false mailers against Judy Chu during the race, attempting to blame her for the economic crisis by associating her with unrelated headlines and claiming that "Politicians like Judy Chu give tax breaks to their big corporate contributors," when as a BoE member she merely returned tax refunds owed corporations, were bad enough. But the mailer against Emanuel Pleitez, using Facebook images to build a false narrative of Pleitez as a drunken womanizer who hangs around with non-Hispanic women (a deliberate effort - we wouldn't be surprised to learn that this mailer only went to Hispanic women) and throws "gang signs" (actually that's the sign for Voto Latino, an organization for which Pleitez was a past board member), goes beyond the pale. This slandering, not only of Pleitez but of women in general, as if appearing in a picture at a bar connotes being a slut, goes well beyond what should be expected of a public official, and certainly beneath someone asking to be given a promotion and sent to Washington.
Calitics was generally comfortable with giving no official endorsement on this race until the events of the past couple weeks. We find Dr. Chu to be a progressive leader and Pleitez to have a significant amount of knowledge and energy, and Cedillo has been a past champion on significant issues like immigration. But the events of the past couple weeks have forced us to end our silence. Our somewhat unusual endorsement for voters in CA-32 is to vote for ANY DEMOCRAT BUT GIL CEDILLO. The behavior he has displayed in this campaign should be rejected, not rewarded.