emanuelpleitez.thumbnail.jpgWhen Obama nominated longtime Blue America fave Hilda Solis for a cabinet position, I got a call from another Blue America alum, Roberto Rodriguez, who had run against GOP crook Buck McKeon in a district northeast of Los Angeles in 2006. Roberto wanted to introduce me to an old friend of his who is running for Congress in CA-32, the East L.A./San Gabriel Valley district that Hilda has represented. There are three Democrats in the race and all are solid progressives: State Board of Equalization head Judy Chu, state Senator Gil Cedillo, and Roberto’s friend, Emanuel Pleitez, straight off President Obama’s transition team. Judy and Gil are both very well known to people who follow Los Angeles and Sacramento politics. Emanuel is well known in the district but unknown outside. We invited him to join us today so we can talk about his very DIY grassroots campaign. He’ll be blogging with us today between 11am and 1pm (PT).

When I spoke with Emanuel on the phone he talked more about Wilson High School, where he was a starting quarterback (and had 19 varsity letters) than about graduating from Stanford. Fellow Stanford graduates aren’t going to elect anyone to office but Brown graduates are– and El Sereno and City Terrace are his base. But even in the San Gabriel Valley segment of the district countless people– or their parents or grandparents– were Brown students and moved from East L.A. Emanuel was one of the founders of the Wilson Alumni Foundation.

He’s the local boy in the race. Many people from outside the district don’t realize that Gil Cedillo doesn’t represent any of CA-32. He represents Downtown L.A. The district is over 60% Hispanic and almost 20% Asian. Hispanic elected officials from inside the district have tended to line up behind Judy and Hispanic elected officials from outside the district are behind Gil. Wilson High graduates are lining up behind Emanuel. He has a small army of volunteer staffers and his field program has been in operation for over a month. That’s the only way you win low-turnout special elections.

At 26 years old, Emanuel would be the youngest member of Congress if he’s elected. His playbook seems straight from Obama’s campaign. He represents the new kind of Obama politics and public service. You can learn more about the campaign on his website and by speaking with him directly– in the comments section below.