OC Political

A right-of-center blog covering local, statewide, and national politics

OC’s Close Contests: 90.2% of Ballots Counted, D. Nguyen Within 17 Votes of Diep, Contreras Gains, Why TUSD Measure N is OC’s Closest Bond

Posted by Chris Nguyen on March 11, 2020

The OC vote count continues, with approximately 9.8% of ballots still to be counted.

After counting 25,961 ballots yesterday, the Orange County Registrar of Voters reports 76,649 ballots remain while 706,425 have been counted, which means 90.2% of OC’s 783,074 ballots have already been counted (OC voter turnout in the 2020 primary appears to have settled at 47.9%).

As OC Political noted Thursday, the Secretary of State defines “Close Contests” as those races where there is a margin of 2% or less, so we are tracking Orange County’s close contests where there is a margin of 2% or less.

Because Central Committee races are exhausting to analyze and write about (and presumably exhausting to read about), only races where a new person is in sixth place (since the top six are elected in each district) are being covered, the count resulted in no changes in any of the Central Committee races in either major party.

72nd Assembly District

In the 72nd Assembly District race for the second slot to reach the top two against former Senator Janet Nguyen (R-Fountain Valley), incumbent Tyler Diep (R-Westminster) saw his lead shrink to just a razor-thin 17 votes (0.02%) against Councilwoman Diedre Nguyen (D-Garden Grove) as late Democratic ballots continue to fuel her rise.  In all likelihood, Diedre Nguyen will overtake Diep in the next count, and Diep will become one of those rare legislative incumbents who loses re-election in the primary.

Diep’s lead has continued to fall, having previously been 291 votes (0.29%), 309 votes (0.31%), 1,050 votes (1.19%), 1,286 votes (1.54%), and 1,975 votes (2.56%).

Candidate Name Total Votes Percentage
35,199 34.38%
25,797 25.20%
25,780 25.18%
15,597 15.24%


1st Supervisorial District

In the 1st Supervisorial District race for the second slot to reach the runoff against incumbent Andrew Do (R-Westminster), Councilman Sergio Contreras (D-Westminster) grew his lead over Mayor Miguel Pulido (D-Santa Ana) to 1,386 votes (1.70%).

While there has been one post-Election Night count with Pulido gaining, Contreras has gained in most of those daily counts. In the prior counts, Contreras’s leads over Pulido were 1,293 votes (1.63%), 1,207 votes (1.59%), 865 votes (1.22%), 968 votes (1.47%), and 514 votes (0.82%).

Candidate Name Total Votes Percentage
35,540 43.65%
17,506 21.50%
16,120 19.80%
12,250 15.05%


Tustin Unified School District Measure N

Tustin Unified School District’s Measure N continues to steadily inch up ever so slightly, but it is unlikely to reach the 55% required to pass a local school bond.  In the prior count, it was 53.01% (1.99% short of 55%).

So far, 19,648 voters have cast votes on Measure N.  Assuming the 90.2% of ballots counted is uniform across the County (which certainly isn’t the case, but it’s the only number available and is better than no estimate, and doesn’t account for undervotes or overvotes), that would leave 2,135 ballots for Measure N.  If there are 2,000 ballots remaining for Tustin Unified School District, that would require 73.08% of those ballots to be in favor of the bond.  That would be an astronomically high percentage for a 2020 primary election bond.

Candidate Name Total Votes Percentage
10,442 53.15%
9,206 46.85%

Former Fullerton Elementary School District Trustee Chris Thompson (R) inquired in the comments on yesterday’s post about if there were any theories as to why Measure N got closer to passage than any other school bond in an election when all nine school bonds failed.

Tustin Unified School District had a combination of things that worked in its favor.  No other school district had all three of TUSD’s factors in favor (though obviously TUSD still fell short):

  • TUSD’s Measure N was one of only two OC bonds on the March 3 ballot that listed projects by campus (the other was Saddleback Valley Unified School District’s Measure M, though that had an overwhelming 62.75% of voters opposed, but SVUSD’s electorate is much more conservative than TUSD’s, and there was organized opposition); all other bonds listed potential projects without linking them to specific campuses or listed campuses without specific projects.  Greater specificity of projects likely helped voter confidence that there were specific items being approved, as opposed to the perception of a giant block of money being provided to the school district for miscellaneous facilities.
  • TUSD used a school facilities improvement district (SFID), which meant only 2/3 of the school district was voting on this bond, as the other 1/3 were outside the SFID.  That 1/3 were areas that already had Mello-Roos that went to schools, per TUSD’s web site on Measure N.  This presumably was to prevent voters from those areas to be upset about growing their school bills.  (TUSD is still paying off several bonds.)  While Capistrano Unified School District (CUSD) proposed bonds in two separate SFIDs (Measure H opposed by 56.36% and Measure I opposed by 54.60%), TUSD has a greater degree of trust with its community while CUSD has been roiled by community mistrust with recall elections, very rigorous campaigns where incumbents have been repeatedly tossed from office, etc.  Additionally, the CUSD electorate is simply more conservative than the TUSD electorate, and there was organized opposition.  Also, CUSD had a defeated bond just four years ago while TUSD’s last bond was eight years ago, but that one was successful.
  • TUSD had no organized opposition.  Brea Olinda Unified School District’s Measure G, Capistrano Unified School District’s Measures H and I, and Saddleback Valley Unified School District’s Meausre M all had organized opposition.

One Response to “OC’s Close Contests: 90.2% of Ballots Counted, D. Nguyen Within 17 Votes of Diep, Contreras Gains, Why TUSD Measure N is OC’s Closest Bond”

  1. Thanks for the breakdown on Tustin’s measure N Chris. Could not be more pleased all these bonds went down to defeat!

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