California: Jay Chen Hopes to Put Race on the Map

Posted March 28, 2012 at 11:57pm

Small-business man Jay Chen (D-Calif.) today will announce a slew of endorsements from Members of Congress, local officials and labor unions in his uphill challenge to Rep. Ed Royce (R).

This race is not among the top-tier races in the state at this point, but Chen is hoping to change that. According to a source close to the campaign, Chen, who entered the race in late January, will report at the end of the first quarter that he raised about $250,000 in just eight weeks.

Before entering the race in late January, Chen commissioned a poll in December by Democratic firm Tulchin Research. It found Royce leading 50 percent to 33 percent, but pollsters Ben Tulchin and Corey O’Neil wrote in a polling memo that there is indeed a path to victory for Chen in this minority-coalition district.

“There is a unique and realistic opportunity for a qualified Asian-American Democrat such as Jay Chen to make his case to voters and win them over next November,” Tulchin wrote.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) would have carried the redrawn 39th district, which includes portions of Los Angeles, Orange and San Bernardino counties, by 2 points in 2008. Despite that small margin and the high number of minorities, Royce, who ended 2011 with more than $3 million in the bank, is still heavily favored.

Chen, a first-generation American and president of the Hacienda Heights-La Puente School Board, has no Democratic opposition. He’s being endorsed by California Democratic Reps. Loretta Sanchez, Linda Sánchez, Grace Napolitano, Judy Chu, Mike Honda and Jerry McNerney. He is also backed by SEIU International and the LA County Federation of Labor.