Potential voter confusion in CA CD 32 special primary election?

On May 19 there will be a special election in California’s CD 32 to fill the vacancy of Hilda Solis. Twelve candidates filed, including front-runners Gil Cedillo (a state Senator) and Judy Chu (a member of the state Board of Equalization). If that wasn’t interesting enough, there is a second Chu in the race, raising questions about potential voter confusion.

Here’s some snips from my local paper, the Pasadena Star-News:

Chu faces her own Asian challenger, one that shares her name and is distantly related. Monterey Park councilwoman Betty Tom Chu, Chu’s cousin by marriage, has jumped into the contest. And though she has gone by her full name in previous elections, this time around she has dropped the Tom and filed papers as Betty Chu, which could produce confusion among voters.

Chu and Chu are known to be political rivals, and some wonder if the Betty Tom Chu’s entrance is an effort to cause confusion.

“It’s a problem but it’s one we can deal with,” said Chu’s campaign consultant Parke Skelton. “It’s kind of an obvious dirty trick… a little too cute by half.”

But Tom Chu said she’s running to serve her Monterey Park community at the federal level.

“There are 12 candidates running. I found out a little about each one before I decided that I don’t want them to represent me and if I don’t want them to represent me, why would I want them to represent my constituents,” she said.

Tom Chu said her top priority would be to cut taxes to stimulate the economy.

She said she is known both with the Tom name and without, and decided for the latter in this contest.