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CD-46: Two Democrats Pull Papers as Republicans

Posted by Chris Nguyen on January 13, 2016

46th Congressional DistrictBizarrely, two recent Democrats have pulled papers to run as Republicans in the 46th Congressional District race to replace Loretta Sanchez, who is running for the United States Senate.  No other Republicans have pulled papers, though Irvine Councilwoman Lynn Schott has opened a committee.

One is Louie A. Contreras who was the Democratic nominee for the 41st District attempting to unseat Congressman Jerry Lewis in 2006, winning only 32.7% of the vote.  Contreras ran unsuccessfully for La Habra City Council in 2008, winning 3.0% to come in 8th out of 8 candidates.

The other is Rudy Gaona who was the Democrat who won just 16.5% of the vote in 2014 in a head-to-head race against Supervisor Shawn Nelson; Gaona was actually endorsed by the Democratic Party of Orange County in his race against Nelson.  Gaona has run unsuccessfully for Anaheim City Council twice, winning 5.6% of the vote to come in 8th out of 9 candidates in 2012 and 2.2% of the vote to come in 14th out of 14 candidates in 2010.

With three major Democrats (former Senator Lou Correa, former Senator Joe Dunn, and Garden Grove Mayor Bao Nguyen) and only Schott in the race, Schott would have easily made the run-off.  However, with Contreras and Gaona jumping in the race, they could siphon off enough of the Republican vote to enable the top two Democrats (likely Correa and Dunn or Correa and Nguyen) to advance to November without a Republican.

In the 2014 primary, Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez captured 50.6% of the vote against three Republicans: Lake Forest Councilman Adam Nick squeaked into the run-off with 18.1% of the vote, Accountant John Cullum captured 14.2%, and Businessman Carlos Vazquez got 12.5% (an obscure Democrat, Ehab Atalla, got 4.6%).

If Schott, Contreras, and Gaona split the Republican vote like in 2014, then it is likely two Democrats would advance to November.  (55.2% divided by three is 18.4% if miraculously Correa, Dunn, and Nguyen split the vote evenly; if two of them are remotely competitive and the third is not, the top two would go much higher and get to the run-off more easily.)  Additionally, Democratic turnout is higher in presidential primaries (like 2016) than in gubernatorial primaries (like 2014), so Democrats should be an even higher proportion of turnout in 2016 than 2014.

The 46th Congressional District covers all of Santa Ana, the flatlands of Anaheim, western Orange, and small portions of Garden Grove.

(Pulling out my Nguyen disclaimer: I am not related to Garden Grove Mayor Bao Nguyen.  The last name Nguyen is held by 36% of Vietnamese people.)

22 Responses to “CD-46: Two Democrats Pull Papers as Republicans”

  1. junior said

    I sense shenanigans afoot – likely by Dunn – it sounds like a lawyer trick.

    • *What did the man say: “Welcome to politricks! I came to your country to go to UCRA!” or “Divide and conquer makes sense to us!”

    • Greg Diamond said

      When did each pull papers? It doesn’t look like Dunn at work to me (although it doesn’t hurt him to divide the Latino vote a little.) It looks like one (former?) Democrat pulled papers as a Republican in an effort to make the runoff and the other did so to keep the other one from making the runoff. So, which was the first one to pull?

      Of course, if one doesn’t follow through with filing, the only one who files will have the advantage that you mention. What this does is dissuade a Republican from entering the race, given the unlikelihood that winning part of a 3-way split will be enough to make the runoff.

      The exception would be a prominent Republican already well known in the district. Keep your eye on Orange, because the other thing that this does is to split the Anaheim and Santa Ana vote. (Where does Contreras live, by the way? Disregard the second sentence of this paragraph if he lives in Orange.)

  2. Isn’t it sweet to have an Open Primary where you can be locked out of casting your vote for your party standard bearer in the General elections

    • Juice-Brother, did you see the shout-out to you in the “Orange Juice’s biggest Chestnuts” story? Your post on Doolittle’s Raid STILL gets hundreds of hits a year.

      • larrygilbert said

        Brother Vern .Wishing you a healthy and prosperous 2016. Over the weekend I was looking for the photo I took of you hitting the ivories of the multicolor piano in the Murray Center . Do you remember the month and year of that multi location piano challenge?

  3. Silly Rudy, he just has to run for SOMETHING each cycle. He was the only Anaheim Latino (I know of) who wanted new District 2 to go to election this year, because that’s where he lives and he wanted to run for council. He must have made this decision in the last couple days, since the Council majority backtracked and let districts 1,3,4,5 go first.

    No, Joe Dunn had nothing to do with this. Although it’s possible it COULD help him.

  4. […] at OC Political, Chris Nguyen published an interesting bit of news about the candidate mix in the CD46 […]

  5. carpetbagger said

    These guys are Dunn plants for sure.

  6. […] Grove would try conquest the seat left open by Loretta Sanchez who is running for Senate. In the open primary he would face two Democrats like State Senator Lou Correa State Senator Joe Dunn and three […]

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