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OC’s Close Contests: Counting Virtually Done

Posted by Chris Nguyen on March 15, 2020

Only 1.1% of OC ballots remain to be counted

After counting 16,006 ballots Friday and Saturday, the Orange County Registrar of Voters has counted 812,826 ballots, which puts OC voter turnout in the 2020 primary at 49.7%.  Although the Registrar reports 2,749 ballots left to count, that was after yesterday’s first update, and they did not provide an update on uncounted ballots after releasing yesterday’s second update of counted ballots.  In yesterday’s second update, 2,288 ballots were counted, so that leaves 461 ballots plus whatever additional ballots fall under “California voters’ ability to cure ballots after Election Day, as well as other factors allowing additional ballots to be counted.”

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 have been 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 has captured sixth place (since the top six are elected in each district) are covered below.  Since the the count resulted in no changes in any of the Central Committee races in either major party, no Central Committee race is covered below.

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), Councilwoman Diedre Nguyen (D-Garden Grove) grew her lead over incumbent Tyler Diep (R-Westminster) to 827 votes (0.70%).  She previously led him in prior counts by 647 votes (0.56%) and 208 votes (0.20%).  Prior to that count, Diep had seen his lead over Diedre Nguyen continually shrink, having previously been 17 votes (0.02%), 291 votes (0.29%), 309 votes (0.31%), 1,050 votes (1.19%), 1,286 votes (1.54%), and 1,975 votes (2.56%).

Total Votes Percentage
39,684 33.83%
D) 29,919 25.50%
(R) 29,092 24.80%
18,621 15.87%

 

Tustin Unified School District Measure N

Tustin Unified School District’s Measure N continued to steadily inch up ever so slightly to 53.66% (1.34% short of 55%), but it is now mathematically impossible for it to reach the 55% required to pass a local school bond.  In the prior three counts, it was 53.59% (1.41% short of 55%), 53.40% (1.60% short of 55%), 53.15% (1.85% short of 55%) and 53.01% (1.99% short of 55%).

To reach 55%, it must win 100% of 695 additional ballots.  If even 1 additional “no” ballot comes in, then that increases the number of “yes” ballots that must come in.  (Note that there appears to be only an estimated 461 ballots left countywide, so an incredible number of cured ballots must come in from TUSD School Facilities Improvement District No. 2020-1 alone.)

Total Votes Percentage
12,474 53.66%
10,774 46.34%

 

(Cue my usual Nguyen disclaimer: The two 72nd Assembly District candidates, former Senator Janet Nguyen and Garden Grove Councilwoman Diedre Nguyen, are not related to each other, and neither of them are related to me. The last name Nguyen is held by 36% of Vietnamese people.)

Posted in 1st Supervisorial District, 72nd Assembly District, Tustin Unified School District | Leave a Comment »

OC’s Close Contests: 98.9% of Ballots Counted, Diep Falls Further Behind, BOS-1 No Longer Close, Measure N Inches Up But Still Fails

Posted by Chris Nguyen on March 13, 2020

Only 1.1% of OC ballots remain to be counted

After counting 33,794 ballots yesterday, the Orange County Registrar of Voters reports 9,254 ballots remain while 796,820 have been counted, which means 98.9% of OC’s 806,074 ballots have already been counted (OC voter turnout in the 2020 primary appears to be 49.3%).

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.

In the 1st Supervisorial District, Councilman Sergio Contreras (D-Westminster) continued to grow his lead over Mayor Miguel Pulido (D-Santa Ana) to make the runoff against Supervisor Andrew Do (R-Westminster), increasing that lead to 2,039 votes (2.15%).  It no longer meets the “Close Contest” definition.  Even in the preposterous scenario that all 9,254 ballots remaining countywide were in the 1st Supervisorial District and every single one of them cast a valid vote for the office of Supervisor, Pulido would need to have a 22% lead over Contreras among those voters to make the run-off.  That would be a massive margin: in the votes tabulated so far, Pulido’s lead over Contreras in Santa Ana is only 12%.

A reader inquired by email as to why the number of ballots remaining, ballots counted, and voter turnout seem to be fluctuating.  The Registrar explains the moving target in this note:

These estimates were prepared based on averages and will be adjusted following additional detailed sorting.

*The number of ballots left to count can increase after election day, due [to] California voters’ ability to cure ballots after Election Day, as well as other factors allowing additional ballots to be counted.

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

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), Councilwoman Diedre Nguyen (D-Garden Grove) grew her lead over incumbent Tyler Diep (R-Westminster) to 647 votes (0.56%).  When she first took the lead in the prior count, she led him by 208 votes (0.20%).  Prior to that count, Diep had seen his lead over Diedre Nguyen continually shrink, having previously been 17 votes (0.02%), 291 votes (0.29%), 309 votes (0.31%), 1,050 votes (1.19%), 1,286 votes (1.54%), and 1,975 votes (2.56%).

As noted in yesterday’s post, there is now an all-Nguyen general election race in AD-72 between Janet Nguyen and Diedre Nguyen.  Diep now has the indignity of joining AD-73’s Assemblyman Bill Brough (R-Dana Point) as the only incumbent legislators in the state to lose their re-election bids in the primary.

Candidate Name Total Votes Percentage
39,122 34.02%
D) 29,214 25.40%
R) 28,567 24.84%
18,097 15.74%

 

Tustin Unified School District Measure N

Tustin Unified School District’s Measure N continued to steadily inch up ever so slightly to 53.59% (1.41% short of 55%), but it is virtually impossible for it to reach the 55% required to pass a local school bond.  In the prior three counts, it was 53.40% (1.60% short of 55%), 53.15% (1.85% short of 55%) and 53.01% (1.99% short of 55%).

So far, 22,939 voters have cast votes on Measure N.  Assuming the 98.9% 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 only 255 ballots for Measure N.  Even getting 100% of those ballots would leave Measure N at 54.10% in favor of the bond, still 0.90% short of 55%.

The voters of Tustin Unified School District School Facilities Improvement District 2020-1 comprise just 2.88% of Orange County’s registered voters.  For Measure N to pass, it needs 100% of an additional 719 ballots (7.77% of uncounted OC ballots), 71.20% of an additional 2,000 ballots (a whopping 21.61% of OC’s uncounted ballots), or 63.10% of an additional 4,000 ballots (an insane 43.22% of OC’s uncounted ballots).

In the utterly preposterous scenario of all 9,254 uncounted ballots in Orange County being in the Tustin Unified School District School Facilities Improvement District 2020-1, Measure N would still need 58.50% of those ballots to reach the required 55% to pass.

Total Votes Percentage
12,293 53.59%
10,646 46.41%

 

(Cue my usual Nguyen disclaimer: The two 72nd Assembly District candidates, former Senator Janet Nguyen and Garden Grove Councilwoman Diedre Nguyen, are not related to each other, and neither of them are related to me. The last name Nguyen is held by 36% of Vietnamese people.)

Posted in 1st Supervisorial District, 72nd Assembly District, Tustin Unified School District | Leave a Comment »

OC’s Close Contests: 97.4% of Ballots Counted, Diedre Nguyen Surpasses Diep, Contreras Gains, Dunlap Passes Shawver, Measure N Fails

Posted by Chris Nguyen on March 12, 2020

Just 2.6% of OC ballots remain to be counted

After counting 56,601 ballots yesterday, the Orange County Registrar of Voters reports 20,048 ballots remain while 763,026 have been counted, which means 97.4% 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 has captured sixth place (since the top six are elected in each district) are covered below.  So instead of Republican Central Committee for five districts and Democratic Central Committee for seven districts, only one Central Committee race is below: 65th District for the Republican Central Committee.

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), Councilwoman Diedre Nguyen (D-Garden Grove) overtook incumbent Tyler Diep (R-Westminster), and she now leads him 208 votes (0.20%).

The all-Republican general election race in AD-72 between Janet Nguyen and Diep now becomes an all-Nguyen general election race in AD-72 between Janet Nguyen and Diedre Nguyen.  Diep now has the indignity of joining AD-73’s Assemblyman Bill Brough (R-Dana Point) as the only incumbent legislators in the state to lose their re-election bids in the primary.

Before Diedre Nguyen finally surpassed Diep in the latest count, Diep had seen his lead over Diedre Nguyen continually shrink, having previously been 17 votes (0.02%), 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
37,070 34.14%
27,432 25.27%
27,224 25.07%
16,847 15.52%

 

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) continued growing his lead over Mayor Miguel Pulido (D-Santa Ana), which has now reached 1,674 votes (1.84%).

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 1,386 votes (1.70%), 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
38,762 42.51%
20,249 22.21%
18,575 20.37%
13,597 14.91%

 

Tustin Unified School District Measure N

Tustin Unified School District’s Measure N continued to steadily inch up ever so slightly to 53.40% (1.6% short of 55%), but it is virtually impossible for it to reach the 55% required to pass a local school bond.  In the prior two counts, it was 53.15% (1.85% short of 55%) and 53.01% (1.99% short of 55%).

So far, 22,541 voters have cast votes on Measure N.  Assuming the 97.4% 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 only 602 ballots for Measure N.  Even getting 100% of those ballots would leave Measure N at 54.61% in favor of the bond.  Even Vladimir Putin refuses to take 100% of the vote in his elections.

The voters of Tustin Unified School District School Facilities Improvement District 2020-1 comprise just 2.88% of Orange County’s registered voters.  For Measure N to pass, it needs 100% of an additional 804 ballots (4.01% of uncounted OC ballots), 72.10% of an additional 2,000 ballots (9.98% of OC’s uncounted ballots), and 64.05% of an additional 4,000 ballots (a whopping 19.95% of OC’s uncounted ballots).

In the preposterous scenario of all 20,048 uncounted ballots in Orange County being in the Tustin Unified School District School Facilities Improvement District 2020-1, Measure N would still need 56.8% of those ballots to reach the required 55% to pass.

With the failure of Measure N, that means all nine school bonds in Orange County from the 2020 primary election have been defeated.  Although the vast majority of school bonds are typically approved in any given election, Orange County was no outlier this year, as a majority of the local school bonds in California were defeated by the voters in the 2020 primary election.  Indeed, even Proposition 13 on the 2020 primary election ballot was defeated, the first statewide school bond to be defeated in 26 years (and 1994 was the year of the Republican Revolution), with the Yes on 13 campaign tweeting, “Based on current vote totals, it appears Proposition 13 will fall short of the required 50% threshold.”  (While local school bonds require a 55% vote to pass, statewide school bonds require only a simple majority of 50%.)

Bond Vote Total Votes Percentage
12,036 53.40%
10,505 46.60%

 

Republican Central Committee, 65th District

In the race for the sixth and final slot on the Republican Central Committee for the 65th District, Businessman Nick Dunlap (R-Fullerton) overtook Mayor David Shawver (R-Stanton) in the most recent count and is now ahead of the incumbent Central Committee member by 54 votes (0.05%).

In the first post-election night count (i.e. Wednesday, March 4), Shawver led Dunlap by 355 votes (0.45%).  Shawver’s lead continued to shrink with subsequent counts until Dunlap surpassed him in the latest count.

However, when the directly-elected members of the Central Committee are seated in January 2021, the 65th District will have two vacancies because Cynthia Thacker (R-Buena Park) and James Waters (R-Anaheim) will be seated as ex officio members of the Central Committee next month (April 2020), as Thacker is the Republican nominee for Assembly against incumbent Sharon Quirk-Silva (D-Fullerton) and Waters is the Republican nominee for Congress against incumbent Lou Correa (D-Santa Ana).  Considering how active a member of Central Committee Shawver has been, it is expected that Shawver will be appointed to fill one of the vacancies in January.

Candidate Name Total Votes Percentage
15,015 13.59%
14,151 12.81%
11,521 10.43%
11,519 10.43%
11,061 10.01%
10,954 9.91%
10,900 9.86%
10,655 9.64%
10,000 9.05%
4,718 4.27%

 

(Cue my usual Nguyen disclaimer: The two 72nd Assembly District candidates, former Senator Janet Nguyen and Garden Grove Councilwoman Diedre Nguyen, are not related to each other, and neither of them are related to me. The last name Nguyen is held by 36% of Vietnamese people.)

Posted in 1st Supervisorial District, 72nd Assembly District, Republican Central Committee, Tustin Unified School District | Leave a Comment »

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.

Posted in 1st Supervisorial District, 72nd Assembly District, Capistrano Unified School District, Saddleback Valley Unified School District, Tustin Unified School District | 1 Comment »

OC’s Close Contests: 47.9% Turnout, 86.9% of Ballots Counted, Nguyen and Contreras Gain, TUSD Measure N Enters Close Contest Status, SD-37 No Longer Close

Posted by Chris Nguyen on March 10, 2020

The OC vote count continues, with approximately 13.1% of ballots still to be counted.

After counting 57,747 ballots on Saturday and 38,692 yesterday, the Orange County Registrar of Voters reports 102,610 ballots remain while 680,464 have been counted, which means approximately 86.9% of OC’s 783,074 ballots have already been counted (OC voter turnout in the 2020 primary appears to be 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.

In the 37th Senate District, Professor Dave Min (D-Irvine) continues to grow his lead over Mayor Katrina Foley (D-Costa Mesa) to be the Democratic nominee against Senator John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa), increasing that lead to 5,118 votes (2.38%) on Saturday and to 6,327 votes (2.71%) yesterday.  It no longer meets the “Close Contest” definition and is unlikely to return to that status, as Min has consistently grown his lead over Foley.

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 two-day 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 continue to shrink against Councilwoman Diedre Nguyen (D-Garden Grove) as late Democratic ballots continue to fuel Diedre Nguyen.

Yesterday, Diep’s lead declined slightly to 291 votes (0.29%), but this was after Diep’s lead over Diedre Nguyen plunged on Saturday to 309 votes (0.31%). In the prior three counts, he had led by 1,050 (1.19%), 1,286 votes (1.54%), and 1,975 votes (2.56%).

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) ever so slightly to 1,293 votes (1.63%) after it had previously jumped to 1,207 votes (1.59%) on Saturday.  In the prior count, Contreras’s lead over Pulido was 865 votes (1.22%), 968 votes (1.47%), and 514 votes (0.82%).  While there has been one post-Election Night count with Pulido gaining, Contreras has gained in most counts.
Candidate Name Total Votes Percentage
34,696 43.88%
16,900 21.37%
15,607 19.74%
11,874 15.02%

Tustin Unified School District Measure N

After inching up ever so slowly, Tustin Unified School District’s Measure N broke 53% in yesterday, therefore bringing it within 2% of the 55% required to pass a local bond and now meeting the definition of a close contest.  It is now 1.99% short of 55%.
Candidate Name Total Votes Percentage
10,080 53.01%
8,937 46.99%

Posted in 1st Supervisorial District, 37th Senate District, 72nd Assembly District, Tustin Unified School District | 5 Comments »

OC’s Close Contests: 43.6% Turnout, 82.1% of Ballots Counted, Nguyen and Pulido Gain, Foley Falls

Posted by Chris Nguyen on March 7, 2020

The OC vote count continues, but we are spared Florida’s 2000 chad problem

After counting 45,647 ballots yesterday (and with more ballots arriving from the Post Office for the last time, as that was the deadline for ballots to arrive), the Orange County Registrar of Voters reports 127,867 ballots remain while 584,025 have been counted, which means 82.1% of OC’s 711,892 ballots have already been counted (we now know OC voter turnout in the 2020 primary is 43.6%).

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 covered below.  So instead of Republican Central Committee for five districts and Democratic Central Committee for seven districts, only one Central Committee race is below: 69th District for the Republican Central Committee.

37th Senate District

In the 37th Senate District race for the second slot to reach the top two against Senator John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa), UCI Law Professor Dave Min (D-Irvine) grew his lead over Mayor Katrina Foley (D-Costa Mesa) by 1,357 votes, which brings his lead to 3,804 votes (1.97%), and SD-37 may well lose its “close contest” designation in the next count or two.  He previously led by 2,447 votes (1.37%), and before that, he led by 2,333 votes (1.36%).

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 continue to shrink against Councilwoman Diedre Nguyen (D-Garden Grove) as late Democratic ballots continue to fuel Diedre Nguyen.

Diep gained 1,310 votes in the latest count, but Diedre Nguyen gained 1,546 votes, narrowing Diep’s lead to 1,050 (1.19%). In the previous count, Diep had gained 1,177 votes while Diedre Nguyen gained 1,866 votes, which brought Diep’s lead down to 1,286 votes (1.54%).  Prior to that, Diep had 20,382 votes (26.40%) while Diedre Nguyen had 18,407 votes (23.84%), giving Diep a lead of 1,975 votes (2.56%).

While the Diep camp can’t be happy about their continual decline versus Diedre Nguyen, they are probably relieved the decline has slowed.  A decline of 109 votes after the two added 2,856 votes is certainly better for them than the 686-vote decline after the two added 3,043 votes.
Candidate Name Total Votes Percentage
30,753 34.72%
22,869 25.82%
21,819 24.63%
13,135 14.83%
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) saw his lead over Mayor Miguel Pulido (D-Santa Ana) shrink by 103 votes, so Contreras now leads Pulido by 865 votes (1.22%).  Previously, Contreras led Pulido by 968 votes (1.47%).  In the count before that, Contreras led Pulido by 514 votes (0.82%).
Candidate Name Total Votes Percentage
31,601 44.56%
14,797 20.87%
13,932 19.65%
10,585 14.93%

Republican Central Committee, 69th District

In the race for the sixth and final seat from the 69th District on the Republican Central Committee, Gisela Contreras (R-Santa Ana) and Councilwoman Ceci Iglesias (R-Santa Ana) flip-flopped again between fifth and sixth place slot, with Jon Paul White (R-Santa Ana) remaining in seventh place.  Iglesias leads White by 487 votes (1.51%) while Contreras leads White by 479 votes (1.49%).  Previously, Iglesias led White by 432 votes (1.44%) while Contreras led White by 443 votes (1.47%).  Prior to that count, Iglesias led White by 426 votes (1.46%) while Contreras led White by 421 votes (1.44%).
Candidate Name Total Votes Percentage
4,687 14.55%
4,100 12.73%
4,097 12.72%
3,945 12.25%
3,625 11.25%
3,617 11.23%
3,138 9.74%
2,748 8.53%
2,258 7.01%

Posted in 1st Supervisorial District, 37th Senate District, 72nd Assembly District, Republican Central Committee | Leave a Comment »

OC’s Close Contests: AD-72 Now Reaches Close Contest Status

Posted by Chris Nguyen on March 6, 2020

After counting 29,601 ballots yesterday (and with more ballots arriving from the Post Office), the Orange County Registrar of Voters reports 139,058 ballots remain while 538,378 have been counted, which means 79.5% of OC’s ballots have already been counted (though a small number of additional ballots could arrive today from the Post Office that were postmarked by March 3; today is the last day ballots can reach the Registrar and still be counted).

As OC Political noted yesterday, 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.

The race for the 72nd Assembly District has now narrowed enough to meet that 2% criteria, as Assemblyman Tyler Diep (R-Westminster) battles Councilwoman Diedre Nguyen (D-Garden Grove) for the second slot in the top two to advance to November with former Senator Janet Nguyen (R-Fountain Valley), who holds a strong lead for first place.

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 covered below.  So instead of Republican Central Committee for five districts and Democratic Central Committee for seven districts, only three Central Committee races are below: 69th District for the Central Committees of both major parties and 74th District for the Democratic Central Committee.

37th Senate District

In the 37th Senate District race for the second slot to reach the top two against Senator John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa), UCI Law Professor Dave Min (D-Irvine) grew his lead over Mayor Katrina Foley (D-Costa Mesa) by 114 votes to 2,447 votes (1.37%).  He previously led by 2,333 votes (1.36%).

Candidate Name Total Votes Percentage
88,681 49.55%
D) 46,368 25.91%
43,921 24.54%

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 dramatically shrink against Councilwoman Diedre Nguyen (D-Garden Grove) as late Democratic ballots fueled a surge for Diedre Nguyen.

In the prior count, Diep had 20,382 votes (26.40%) while Diedre Nguyen had 18,407 votes (23.84%), giving Diep a lead of 1,975 votes (2.56%).  In the latest count, Diep gained 1,177 votes but Diedre Nguyen gained 1,866 votes, narrowing Diep’s lead to 1,286 votes (1.54%).

The Diep camp will be nervous and the Diedre Nguyen camp will be optimistic as late Democratic ballots continue to be counted, threatening to turn an all-Republican November contest in AD-72 into an all-Nguyen November contest in AD-72.

Candidate Name Total Votes Percentage
28,956 34.83%
21,559 25.93%
20,273 24.39%
12,345 14.85%

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) by 454 votes to 968 votes (1.47%).  Contreras previously led Pulido by 514 votes (0.82%).
Candidate Name Total Votes Percentage
29,513 44.67%
13,820 20.92%
12,852 19.45%
9,877 14.95%

Republican Central Committee, 69th District

In the race for the sixth and final seat from the 69th District on the Republican Central Committee, Gisela Contreras (R-Santa Ana) grew her lead so much that she leapt into fifth place.  It is now Councilwoman Ceci Iglesias (R-Santa Ana) who holds the sixth place slot, with Jon Paul White (R-Santa Ana) remaining in seventh place.  Contreras leads White by 443 votes (1.47%) while Iglesias leads White by 432 votes (1.44%).  Previously, Contreras led White by 421 votes (1.44%) and Iglesias led White by 426 votes (1.46%).
Candidate Name Total Votes Percentage
4,370 14.54%
3,825 12.72%
3,821 12.71%
3,689 12.27%
3,371 11.21%
3,360 11.18%
2,928 9.74%
2,584 8.60%
2,112 7.03%
For the sixth and final spot on the Democratic Central Committee from the 69th District, Manny Escamilla (D-Santa Ana) overtook Ariana Arestegui (D-Garden Grove).  Escamilla now leads Arestegui by 15 votes (0.02%). Previously Escamilla trailed Arestegui by 5 votes (0.01%).  Four candidates are within 2% of Escamilla.
Candidate Name Total Votes Percentage
8,446 11.84%
8,342 11.69%
7,686 10.77%
6,511 9.13%
5,444 7.63%
5,322 7.46%
5,307 7.44%
5,032 7.05%
4,353 6.10%
4,180 5.86%
3,767 5.28%
3,535 4.95%
3,427 4.80%

Democratic Central Committee, 74th District

In the race for the final seat on the Democratic Central Committee from the 74th District, incumbent Janice Burstin (D-Laguna Woods) overtook College Professor Samila Amanyraoufpoor (D-Irvine) in the latest count to lead by 165 votes (0.13%).  Previously, Amanyraoufpoor led Burstin by 83 votes (0.07%).  Five candidates are within 2% of Burstin.
Candidate Name Total Votes Percentage
11,514 8.85%
10,190 7.83%
10,065 7.73%
9,999 7.68%
9,852 7.57%
9,633 7.40%
9,468 7.27%
8,714 6.70%
8,314 6.39%
7,679 5.90%
7,134 5.48%
6,426 4.94%
5,882 4.52%
4,631 3.56%
4,532 3.48%
3,591 2.76%
2,527 1.94%

Posted in 1st Supervisorial District, 37th Senate District, 72nd Assembly District | 1 Comment »

OC’s Close Contests

Posted by Chris Nguyen on March 5, 2020

Fortunately, Orange County doesn’t have Florida’s chad problem from the 2000 presidential election

After counting 21,461 ballots yesterday (and with more ballots arriving from the Post Office), the Orange County Registrar of Voters reports 166,107 ballots remain while 509,160 have been counted, which means 75.4% of OC’s ballots have already been counted (though a small number of additional ballots could arrive from the Post Office that were postmarked by March 3).

The Secretary of State defines “Close Contests” as those races where there is a margin of 2% or less, so below are Orange County’s close contests where there is a margin of 2% or less.  The close contests were stories #2 and 4 on OC Political’s list of “OC’s Top Ten 2020 Primary Election Stories” and a whole bunch of Central Committee races.

37th Senate District

In the battle to reach the top two to face off against Senator John Moorlach (R), UCI Law Professor Dave Min (D-Irvine) is leading Mayor Katrina Foley (D-Costa Mesa) by 1.36%, which is 2,333 votes.  The California Democratic Party endorsed Min who came in third for the 45th Congressional District in the 2018 primary, when fellow UCI Law Professor Katie Porter (D) came in second behind then-Congresswoman Mimi Walters (R), and Porter would defeat Walters in the general election.  Foley is the first directly-elected Mayor of the district’s third-largest city, holding elected office there for the past 16 years as City Councilwoman, School Board Member, City Councilwoman again, and Mayor.
Candidate Name Total Votes Percentage
85,598 49.74%
D) 44,405 25.81%
42,072 24.45%

1st Supervisorial District

In the race to make the run-off against Supervisor Andrew Do (R-Westminster), Councilman Sergio Contreras (D-Westminster) leads Mayor Miguel Pulido (D-Santa Ana) by 0.82%, which is 514 votes.  The Democratic Party of Orange County endorsed Contreras while Pulido is the Mayor of the district’s largest city, having held the office for the past 26 years.
Candidate Name Total Votes Percentage
27,971 44.74%
12,874 20.59%
12,360 19.77%
9,315 14.90%

Republican Central Committee, 65th District

Mayor David Shawver (R-Stanton) is holding on to the sixth and final spot for Republican Central Committee from the 65th District with 3 people behind him by less than 2%.  In his re-election to the Central Committee, Shawver leads Businessman Nick Dunlap (R-Fullerton) by 0.45% which is 355 votes, incumbent Steve Sarkis (R-Stanton) by 0.48% which is 382 votes, and Businessman DeWayne Allen Normand (R-Stanton) by 1.28% which is 1,009 votes.

Of note, top vote-getter Cynthia Thacker (R-Buena Park) will vacate this directly-elected Central Committee seat because she has won an ex-officio seat on the Central Committee by virtue of becoming the Republican nominee for the 65th Assembly District against incumbent Sharon Quirk-Silva (D-Fullerton).  Similarly, fifth place James Waters (R-Anaheim) will vacate this directly-elected Central Committee seat because she has won an ex-officio seat on the Central Committee by virtue of becoming the Republican nominee for the 46th Congressional District against incumbent Lou Correa (D-Santa Ana).

Candidate Name Total Votes Percentage
10,690 13.51%
10,198 12.89%
8,308 10.50%
8,271 10.45%
8,114 10.26%
7,942 10.04%
7,587 9.59%
7,560 9.56%
6,933 8.76%
3,510 4.44%

Republican Central Committee, 68th District

Prosecutor Ray Gennawey (R-Irvine), son of Councilwoman Elaine Gennawey (R-Laguna Niguel), is in the sixth and final Central Committee seat from the 68th District, leading incumbent Central Committee Member and former Councilwoman Deborah Pauly (R-Villa Park) by 0.08%, which is 162 votes. Gennawy is also leading Councilman Scott Voigts (R-Lake Forest) by 0.76% which is 1,012 votes, and Businessman John Park (R-Irvine) by 1.13% which is 1,491 votes.

Candidate Name Total Votes Percentage
20,559 15.61%
15,525 11.79%
12,007 9.12%
10,797 8.20%
10,390 7.89%
9,975 7.57%
9,813 7.45%
8,963 6.81%
8,484 6.44%
7,217 5.48%
6,486 4.92%
4,651 3.53%
4,473 3.40%
2,359 1.79%

Republican Central Committee, 69th District

Candidate Name Total Votes Percentage
4,255 14.54%
3,732 12.75%
3,731 12.75%
3,592 12.27%
3,272 11.18%
3,267 11.16%
2,846 9.72%
2,516 8.60%
2,056 7.02%

Republican Central Committee, 72nd District

Candidate Name Total Votes Percentage
16,829 14.74%
12,206 10.69%
11,841 10.37%
11,148 9.76%
10,845 9.50%
9,770 8.55%
9,355 8.19%
7,130 6.24%
5,861 5.13%
5,511 4.83%
4,823 4.22%
4,516 3.95%
4,368 3.82%

Republican Central Committee, 74th District

In the 74th District’s race for the last spot for Central Committee, Retired Navy Nurse Emily Sanford (R-Huntington Beach) leads former Councilman Scott Peotter (R-Newport Beach) by 0.86% which is 1,159 votes and Councilman Mike Posey (R-Huntington Beach) by 1.65% which is 2,233 votes.

Of note, the top vote-getter, Councilwoman Diane Dixon (R-Newport Beach), will vacate this directly-elected Central Committee seat because she has won an ex-officio seat on the Central Committee by virtue of becoming the Republican nominee for the 74th Assembly District against incumbent Cottie Petrie-Norris (D-Laguna Beach).

Candidate Name Total Votes Percentage
19,576 14.46%
17,254 12.74%
13,278 9.81%
12,167 8.99%
11,753 8.68%
10,135 7.49%
8,976 6.63%
7,902 5.84%
6,336 4.68%
5,943 4.39%
5,836 4.31%
4,072 3.01%
3,787 2.80%
3,736 2.76%
2,969 2.19%
1,683 1.24%

Democratic Central Committee, 55th District

Businesswoman Gail Cain (D-Brea) leads Democratic Party of Orange County Vice-Chair North Jeffrey LeTourneau (D-Brea) for the last Democratic Central Committee spot from the 55th District by 0.33%, which is 128 votes.

Candidate Name Total Votes Percentage
6,926 17.82%
6,562 16.89%
5,281 13.59%
4,773 12.28%
4,734 12.18%
3,894 10.02%
3,766 9.69%
2,926 7.53%

Democratic Central Committee, 65th District

In the 65th District, Democratic Party of Orange County Chair Ada Briceño (D-Stanton) is hanging on to her Central Committee seat, leading Nonprofit Director/Accountant Bruce W. Johnson (D-Buena Park) by 1.59%, which is 1,406 votes.
Candidate Name Total Votes Percentage
10,645 12.05%
10,355 11.73%
9,322 10.56%
8,696 9.85%
7,889 8.93%
7,213 8.17%
5,807 6.58%
5,230 5.92%
5,206 5.90%
4,787 5.42%
4,779 5.41%
4,565 5.17%
3,813 4.32%

Democratic Central Committee, 68th District

A whopping eight candidates for the Democratic Central Committee are within 2% of Retired Physician Bill Honigman (D-North Tustin) for the last spot from the 68th District.  The closest of the eight is Attorney Nathaniel Fernandez Epstein (D-Lake Forest), who trails Honigman by just 0.01%, which is 18 votes.  Epstein finished in last place in the race for Orange County Assessor in 2018.  Another of the 8 candidates is Democratic Party of Orange County Vice-Chair Central Betty Valencia (D-Orange), currently sitting in tenth place.

Of note, top vote-getter Councilwoman Melissa Fox (D-Irvine) will vacate this directly-elected Central Committee seat because she has won an ex-officio seat on the Central Committee by virtue of becoming the Republican nominee for the 68th Assembly District against incumbent Steven Choi (R-Irvine).

Candidate Name Total Votes Percentage
14,646 15.06%
9,006 9.26%
7,608 7.82%
7,271 7.48%
6,790 6.98%
5,420 5.57%
5,402 5.56%
5,086 5.23%
5,057 5.20%
4,927 5.07%
4,875 5.01%
4,616 4.75%
4,405 4.53%
3,672 3.78%
2,864 2.95%
1,978 2.03%
1,858 1.91%
1,752 1.80%

Democratic Central Committee, 69th District

Four candidates are within 2% of Ariana Arestegui (D-Garden Grove) for the sixth and final spot on the Democratic Central Committee from the 69th District.  The closest is Manny Escamilla (D-Santa Ana), who trails Arestegui by 0.01%, which is 5 votes.
Candidate Name Total Votes Percentage
8,229 11.88%
8,117 11.72%
7,490 10.81%
6,329 9.14%
5,272 7.61%
5,137 7.42%
5,132 7.41%
4,888 7.06%
4,221 6.09%
4,055 5.85%
3,645 5.26%
3,417 4.93%
3,344 4.83%

Democratic Central Committee, 72nd District

In the race for the 72nd District’s last seat on the Democratic Central Committee, Democratic Party of Orange County Vice-Chair West Victor Valladares (D-Huntington Beach) is leading Libby Frolichman (D-Fountain Valley) by 1.35%, which is 1,239 votes, and Sergio Escobar (D-Santa Ana) by 1.49%, which is 1,366 votes.

Candidate Name Total Votes Percentage
11,197 12.19%
10,897 11.87%
9,164 9.98%
8,677 9.45%
8,232 8.97%
8,108 8.83%
6,869 7.48%
6,742 7.34%
6,089 6.63%
5,792 6.31%
5,079 5.53%
4,971 5.41%

Democratic Central Committee, 73rd District

Candidate Name Total Votes Percentage
12,882 13.88%
11,257 12.13%
11,173 12.04%
10,638 11.46%
10,383 11.19%
9,161 9.87%
8,230 8.87%
5,968 6.43%
5,437 5.86%
5,403 5.82%
2,256 2.43%

Democratic Central Committee, 74th District

Five candidates are within 2% of College Professor Samila Amanyraoufpoor (D-Irvine) for the final seat on the Democratic Central Committee from the 74th District.  The closest of the five is incumbent Janice Burstin (D-Laguna Woods), who trails by 0.07%, which is 83 votes.

Candidate Name Total Votes Percentage
10,619 8.78%
9,460 7.82%
9,407 7.77%
9,236 7.63%
9,138 7.55%
8,918 7.37%
8,835 7.30%
8,073 6.67%
7,812 6.46%
7,152 5.91%
6,702 5.54%
5,977 4.94%
5,495 4.54%
4,305 3.56%
4,175 3.45%
3,353 2.77%
2,356 1.95%

Other Notes

If you’re wondering why the 47th Congressional District isn’t a close contest, it’s because while it’s close between John Briscoe (R-Huntington Beach) and Amy Phan West (R-Westminster) in the OC part of the district, Briscoe is crushing West in the LA County part of the district to win a spot in the top two for the 47th Congressional District, where he will face off against incumbent Alan Lowenthal (D-Long Beach).

No ballot measure fits the 2% close contest definition.  While the Anaheim Union High School District’s Measure B is at 51.72% and the Rancho Santiago Community College District’s Measure L is at 51.41%, those are bond measures, so they are actually more than 3% short of the 55% vote required to pass a local school bond.  (Update: Inadvertently, OC Political omitted the closest bond in the County, Tustin Unified School District’s Measure N, which is at 52.87%, which is 2.13% short of the 55% vote required to pass a local school bond.)

Posted in 1st Supervisorial District, 37th Senate District, Democrat Central Committee, Republican Central Committee | 7 Comments »

OC’s Top Ten 2020 Primary Election Stories

Posted by Chris Nguyen on March 4, 2020

With 158,000 votes remaining to count in Orange County (which is actually 30,000 fewer ballots than were remaining the morning after the 2018 primary election), here are the top ten OC Primary Election stories after the completion of the first night of results:

  1. AD-72: Nguyen vs. Diep Continues with an All-Republican General Election
    I’m starting a new company to sell larger mailboxes to residents of the 72nd Assembly District. After a $1.6 million primary, Republicans have finished in the top two for AD-72. What had been one of the closest swing seats in the state now becomes a guaranteed Republican win in November. Of the aforementioned $1.6 million, $1.5 million of it was spent between former Senator Janet Nguyen (R-Fountain Valley) and incumbent Assemblyman Tyler Diep (R-Westminster). Spoiler Bijan Mohseni (D-Los Alamitos) prevented Councilwoman Deidre Nguyen (D-Garden Grove) from reaching the top two.

    After running to the right in the primary, Janet Nguyen and Diep now face the adventure of wooing Democratic voters. Eight years ago, this same district had an all-Republican November general election, in which Businessman Travis Allen (R-Huntington Beach) upset Mayor Troy Edgar (R-Los Alamitos).

  2. BOS-1: Incumbent Do to Face Off Against Latino Democrat Officeholder…But It’s Unclear Which One
    As was widely expected, incumbent Supervisor Andrew Do (R-Westminster) is headed to a November run-off election. However, what isn’t clear is whether his November opponent will be Councilman Sergio Contreras (D-Westminster) or Mayor Miguel Pulido (D-Santa Ana). After the first night of results, Contreras leads Pulido by just 382 votes, or 0.64% of the vote. The Democratic Party of Orange County endorsed Contreras, but Pulido has been Mayor of the district’s largest city for the past 26 years.
  3. CD-45: Raths Emerges from Republican Pack to Challenge Incumbent Democrat Porter
    After a $2.6 million primary, of which $1.65 million was spent on the Republican side, Councilman Greg Raths (R-Mission Viejo) won 18.9% of the vote, defeating five other Republicans to reach the top two to face off against incumbent freshman Democrat Katie Porter (D-Irvine). Raths raised $451,637 and spent $325,491, spending nearly $100,000 less than Councilwoman Peggy Huang (R-Yorba Linda) and less than half of what Councilman Don Sedgwick (R-Laguna Hills) spent. Sedgwick had raised almost double what Raths did, and Sparks raised about $44,000 more than Raths did. Raths faces a tall order in the general election, as Porter sits atop a $3 million warchest.
  4. SD-37: Who is Going to Be Moorlach’s Opponent?
    As was widely expected, Senator John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa) came in first place. What isn’t clear is who will advance to the November general election to face off against Moorlach: UCI Law Professor Dave Min (D-Irvine) or Mayor Katrina Foley (D-Costa Mesa). After the first night of results, Min leads Foley by just 1,569 votes, or 0.95% of the vote. The California Democratic Party endorsed Min, but Foley is the directly-elected Mayor of the district’s third-largest city, holding City and School District offices for the past 16 years.
  5. Most (Maybe All) Nine School Bonds Fail
    In most elections, most school bonds pass, but this election, the voters were particularly unfriendly to the school bonds, with a majority voting against the Brea-Olinda Unified School District’s Measure G, Capistrano Unified School District’s Measures H and I, Fullerton Elementary School District’s Measure J, Fullerton Joint Union High School District’s Measure K, and Saddleback Valley Unified School District’s Measure M.

    Anaheim Union High School District’s Measure B and Rancho Santiago Community College District’s Measure L had a majority backing them, but both are unlikely to reach the necessary 55% margin to pass (both are below 52%). Tustin Unified School District’s Measure N is at 52.61% and still has a chance to get to 55% since the remaining ballots are expected to be disproportionately Democratic ballots since the competitive Democratic presidential primary caused those voters to cast later ballots.

  6. AD-73: Brough in Fourth Place with Davies Likely to Be an Assemblywoman
    Starting election night in the top two, embattled Assemblyman Bill Brough (R-Dana Point) fell to fourth place by the time election night was complete. Mayor Laurie Davies (R-Laguna Niguel) and Business Services Director Scott Rhinehart (D-Mission Viejo) will advance to the top two in one of California’s safest Republican Assembly seats. Homeland Security Attorney Chris Duncan (D-San Clemente) came in third ahead of Brough while Councilman Ed Sachs (R-Mission Viejo) came in fifth behind Brough. Brough was dogged by allegations of sexual harassment and campaign finance misspending, with Davies winning the endorsement of the Republican Party of Orange County.
  7. County Board of Ed. Trustee Area 3: How Much Does it Take to Beat Ken Williams? No One Knows, But $750,000 Isn’t Enough
    County Board of Education Trustee Ken Williams (R-Silverado) won more than 61% of the vote in a head-to-head race with self-funding millionaire Andy Thorburn (D-Villa Park). Thorburn was dubbed “the Mike Bloomberg of OC” by the Liberal OC and ended up putting more than $750,000 of his own money into the race. As a resident of this Trustee Area, I personally received eight mailers from Thorburn, with several attacking Williams as being too extreme for Orange County. Thorburn ran as a carpetbagger for the 39th Congressional District and almost ran for 3rd Supervisorial District. (Only Brea, Yorba Linda, and a portion of Anaheim Hills are in both the 39th Congressional District and Board of Ed Trustee Area 3.) Despite Thorburn’s $750,000 onslaught, the popular Williams cruised to a seventh term.
  8. County Board of Ed. Trustee Area 4: Shaw Wins 33.7% to Deliver Conservative Supermajority as Democrats Shoot Selves in Foot
    Unlike every other seat on the primary election ballot, County Board of Education seats are won by plurality vote (city councils, school boards, and special districts on the November general election ballot are also won by plurality). As the sole Republican on the ballot, Professor/Councilman Tim Shaw (R-La Habra) came in first place with just 33.7% of the vote.

    Three Democrats split the remainder of the vote, with At-Risk Youth Counselor Vicki Calhoun (D-Fullerton) coming in second with 26.8% of the vote, ahead of Educator/Attorney Paulette Chaffee (D-Fullerton), who got 22.4% of the vote and Councilman/Businessman Jordan Brandman (D-Anaheim) who got 17.1% of the vote. Chaffee (whose husband Doug Chaffee beat Shaw for Supervisor in 2018) spent over $124,000, Brandman spent over $64,000, and Calhoun spent so little that she was not required to file campaign finance reports: Calhoun didn’t even buy a ballot statement.The three Democrats got a combined 66.3% of the vote. With one fewer Democrat in the race, it is likely that Shaw would have fallen to second place.

    Consequently, with the election of Tim Shaw and the re-election of Ken Williams, there is now a conservative supermajority on the County Board of Education for the first time in memory (conservative Trustees Mari Barke and Lisa Sparks are not up for election until 2022).

  9. BOS-3: No One Wins Their Hometown…Again
    For the second election in a row, no candidate won their hometown in the race for Third District Supervisor. As expected, Supervisor Don Wagner (R-Irvine) won re-election without a run-off necessary since he achieved a majority of the votes. Specifically, he won 54.4% while attorney Ashleigh Aitken (D-Anaheim) won 45.6%. Despite winning most of the Third District, Wagner actually lost Irvine. Aitken lost Anaheim Hills (the only part of Anaheim in the Third Supervisorial District) handily to Wagner. Similarly, in 2018, Anaheim Hills came out strong for Republican Harry Sidhu over Democrat Aitken in the race for Mayor of Anaheim. In the 2019 special election to fill this supervisorial seat after Supervisor Todd Spitzer (R-Orange) was elected District Attorney, all seven candidates lost their hometowns. This strange streak of hostile hometowns continues.
  10. Central Committee: New Bipartisan Strategy Emerging – Get a Central Committee Seat While Running for Office on the Same Ballot
    In a fascinating phenomenon, candidates for Congress or Assembly are concurrently running for Central Committee. Nowhere was that clearer than the 68th Assembly District, where every challenger to Assemblyman Steven Choi (R-Irvine) ran for Central Committee. Melissa Fox (D-Irvine), Eugene Fields (D-Orange), and Benjamin Yu (R-Lake Forest) all won seats on their respective parties’ Central Committees for the 68th Assembly District while Choi already holds a Central Committee seat by virtue of being the Republican nominee for Assembly.

    Cynthia Thacker (R-Fullerton) in the 65th Assembly District, James Waters (R-Anaheim) in the 46th Congressional District (running for Central Committee in the 65th Assembly District), Brian Burley (R-Huntington Beach) in the 48th Congressional District (running for Central Committee in the 72nd Assembly District), Amy Phan West (R-Westminster) in the 47th Congressional District (running for Central Committee in the 72nd Assembly District), Laurie Davies (R-Laguna Niguel) in the 73rd Assembly District, Ed Sachs (R-Mission Viejo) in the 73rd Assembly District, Greg Raths (R-Mission Viejo) in the 45th Congressional District (running for Central Committee in the 73rd Assembly District), Diane Dixon (R-Newport Beach) in the 74th Assembly District, and Kelly Ernby (R-Huntington Beach) in the 74th Assembly District all won elections for Central Committee.

    In other words, a full dozen candidates for Congress and Assembly won seats on their parties’ respective Central Committees. Half of them (Fox, Thacker, Waters, Davies, Raths, and Dixon) will vacate their directly-elected Central Committee seats because they have won the ex officio positions on their respective Central Committees by virtue of being the nominees of their party for Congress or Assembly.

“As Expected” News

  • The 39th Congressional District will be a rematch (from 2018) between incumbent Gil Cisneros (D-Fullerton) and former Assemblywoman Young Kim (R-Fullerton).
  • The 48th Congressional District will feature incumbent Harley Rouda (D-Laguna Beach) vs. Supervisor Michelle Steel (R-Surfside).
  • The 49th Congressional District will feature incumbent Mike Levin (D-San Juan Capistrano) vs. Councilman Brian Maryott (R-San Juan Capistrano).
  • The 29th Senate District will be a rematch (from 2016) between incumbent Ling Ling Chang (R-Diamond Bar) and former Senator Josh Newman (D-Fullerton).
  • In the 55th Assembly District, Assemblyman Phillip Chen (R-Yorba Linda) won the primary in commanding enough fashion that Councilman Andrew Rodriguez (D-Walnut) is unlikely to be able to mount a rigorous challenge to Chen in the November general election.
  • The 74th Assembly District will be the most hotly contested between the two parties, as Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris (D-Laguna Beach) faces off against Councilwoman Diane Dixon (R-Newport Beach).
  • County Board of Education Trustee Beckie Gomez (D-Tustin) defeated former Councilman Jim Palmer (R-Tustin) and former School Board Member/Perennial Candidate/Lunatic/Convicted Ketchup Thief Steve Rocco (NPP-Santa Ana) to hang on to her Trustee Area 1 seat.
  • In other Orange County seats, Congresswoman Linda Sanchez (D-Norwalk), Congressman Lou Correa (D-Santa Ana), Congressman Alan Lowenthal (D-Long Beach), Assemblyman Tom Daly (D-Anaheim), and Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva (D-Fullerton) all face nominal opposition in November and are expected to cruise to re-election.

(Cue my usual Nguyen disclaimer: Former Senator Janet Nguyen and Garden Grove Councilwoman Diedre Nguyen are not related to each other, and neither of them are related to me. The last name Nguyen is held by 36% of Vietnamese people.)

(In the interest of full disclosure, Dynamic Strategies, the consulting firm that owns OC Political, are the general consultants for 74th Assembly District candidate Diane Dixon, and did some last-minute work for County Board of Education Trustee Ken Williams.)

Posted in 1st Supervisorial District, 37th Senate District, 3rd Supervisorial District, 45th Congressional District, 72nd Assembly District, 73rd Assembly District, Orange County Board of Education | 1 Comment »

Live from the 1st Supervisorial District Debate

Posted by Chris Nguyen on February 20, 2020

We are live from the 1st Supervisorial District Debate, hosted by Resilience Orange County (a youth nonprofit) and Latino Health Access, and moderated by Voice of OC Publisher Norberto Santana.

Participating in the debate are:

It is nice that for once, an organization called their event a debate, rather than a candidate forum.

7:19 PM: The debate is called to order, with representatives of Resilience Orange County and Latino Health Access welcoming the audience. They note they are 501(c)(3)s and cannot endorse any candidates. They also promote participating in the 2020 U.S. Census. They discuss the new Vote Center model. Resilience Orange County announces a plan to alert people of ICE is present in the streets of Santa Ana.

7:24 PM: Santana is introduced. He explains the debate will be a bit of an open forum. Homelessness, open space, ICE coordination, health care, the County budget, and the County jail/law enforcement will be the main topics.

While there is a nameplate for Do, he does not appear to be here.

7:26 PM: Santana asks what funding priorities in the County budget each candidate has.

Nguyen criticizes the cuts for public health that she says were used to fund $151 million in pay increases for Sheriff’s deputies. She calls for an external auditor to find ways to save money in the County budget.

Contreras says he would spend mental health and housing money rather than hoarding it. He wants to work with cities on housing. He wants to invest in workforce investment to prepare the workforce for growing industries, like health care and IT.

Pulido says the County fears controversy, which then causes the 1st District to suffer. He notes that criminals are arrested in other supervisorial districts and then simply released into the 1st District. He calls on mental health care services be offered in other districts, not centralized in the 1st District because he argues that there has not been strong representation for the 1st District on the Board of Supervisors.

7:30 PM: Santana apologizes for skipping opening statements.

Nguyen is a 28-year-old daughter of a Vietnamese refugee and a Mexican immigrant. She has lived in OC since the age of 10. She discusses her college degree. She has been working on Medi-Cal for the past 7 years. She is the youngest and first Latina on the Garden Grove City Council.

Contreras was born and raised in OC, as the son of an immigrant janitor. He worked as Disneyland for 10 years liked his father. He discusses his college degree. He discusses representing the diverse city of Westminster.

Pulido was born in Mexico City and came to the U.S. at the age of 5, speaking only Spanish. He took the bus to school. He went to school not knowing English but eventually learned. He discusses his college degree. He ran for Council when the City of Santa Ana threatened his family’s muffler shop, quipping, “I fought City Hall. I beat City Hall. I became City Hall.” He notes his record as Mayor.

Santana explains Do was invited but could not attend.

7:35 PM: Audience question states there were $151 million in Sheriff’s deputy raises with $110 million coming from the General Fund. He says $39 million was cut from the health care budget and $59 million added to the Sheriff’s department. He asks if the candidates would have supported this.

Contreras calls for increased funding for health care and social services. He calls for getting more money from Sacramento and spend more of CalOptima’s money on public health.

Nguyen blasts Contreras’s CalOptima plan, noting she had worked there, and the money is restricted by state and federal sources. She says the money Contreras is citing are restricted for one-time grants for nonprofit groups.

Pulido worked with Judge Carter on homeless services. He argues CalOptima should be more aggressive in assisting the homeless. He notes two Supervisors sit on the CalOptima Board and the Supervisors appoint the rest of the CalOptima Board. He notes what cities have done with the homeless. Pulido wants Sheriff’s deputy pay to be competitive but not at the expense of public health. He wants the unfunded liability to be refinanced and stabilized.

7:41 PM: Santana asks about the Sheriff cooperating with ICE.

Pulido opposes the Trump Administration’s targeting sanctuary cities. He worked with Congressman Correa to literally get people off ICE vans. He notes Santa Ana is a sanctuary city. He argues Santa Ana has a low crime rate due to trust from the community.

Contreras says the County has enough work to do that it shouldn’t be doing the federal government’s job. He wants more community policing.

Nguyen’s mother’s green card expired today. They are trying to figure out how to keep her here. She says she would drop the lawsuit against SB 54 [the Sanctuary State law]. She demands more rigorous Truth Act forums on immigration, calling the existing format “BS.”

7:45 PM: The Resilience OC Executive Director asks if they support Assemblyman Rob Bonta’s bill banning local government transfers to ICE

Contreras would sign on.

Pulido would sign on and would support hiring lawyers to assist potential deportees at hearings.

Nguyen says her stance is clear.

7:47 PM: Santana notes the Sheriff is independently elected, so what would the candidates do to “confront” him?

Nguyen would fill the Office of Independent Review and institute an Oversight Committee on immigration and jails. She would call for an external audit of the Sheriff’s department.

Contreras notes the Board controls the budget and can use the power of the purse.

Pulido agrees with the power of the purse. He says not funding overtime or other activities would restrict them. He says he wishes Nguyen, Contreras, and Pulido could be on the Board of Supervisors together. He speaks about Santa Ana’s lawsuit against cities sending criminals to Santa Ana that the Sheriff to see the precedent and stop doing that as well.

7:51 PM: Santana asks about homelessness and housing.

Nguyen says she is neither rich nor poor. She rents an expensive apartment, has student loans, and just paid off her car. She says Garden Grove has made good progress on issuing Section 8 vouchers and tenant housing assistance but still need to do more. She calls for wraparound services in addition to housing solutions.

Contreras speaks of living in one-bedroom multigenerational housing as a child. He speaks of updating Westminster’s general plan. They’ve built 150 affordable housing units and could build more if there were County support. He notes the average resident needs to make $31 per hour to afford housing. He says permanent housing is necessary, not just temporary shelters. He calls for workforce development and says the Board of Supervisors needs to work more with cities.

Pulido speaks of getting a bowl cut at home from his dad because they couldn’t afford the barber. He speaks of participating in food drives as a child to only realize his family were the recipients. He says South County doesn’t even want to see homeless people, yet Central County has a heavy share that he sees driving home. He speaks of shelters, services, and housing. He says moving the homeless off the riverbeds just sent them to Central County. He says the Civic Center homeless were cleared out and simply moved into local neighborhoods.

7:57 PM: Santana asks about mental health treatment.

Nguyen speaks about the current situation of the mentally ill being arrested and treated in jail. She notes she is the only elected with professional public health experience in the district. She is a regulatory auditor for a health agency.

Contreras speaks of constituents asking for help, and even his own staff struggling to navigate the process to help the constituents. He calls for spending, not hoarding, mental health money for mental health services.

Pulido says a bed is necessary, facilities to treat the mentally ill. He points to up to 1,000 beds at Fairview in Costa Mesa if it is converted into a mental health facility, but there should be at least 200 beds there. He praises Orange for building 60 beds. He says services can be allocated but there needs to be facilities to house the mentally ill. He calls for the money to be spent.

8:02 PM: An ACLU representative says too many people are being incarcerated instead of getting mental health services. She says the County is planning to expand the Musick Jail to house the mentally ill. She asks if the candidates would stop the jail expansion and form a taskforce to find other ways to handle the mentally ill.

Contreras says the existing mental health money needs to be spent. He calls for working with local agencies to provide humane treatment of the mentally ill. He says there needs to be Supervisors advocating for spending the money.

Nguyen says there needs to be Supervisors who want to spend the money correctly. She blasts the closing of the County hospital years ago because it leaves the County reliant on private hospitals. She blasts the deaths of the mentally ill in County jails.

Pulido says there should be a reduction on the revolving door of mentally ill people in jail. He says there need to be jobs and job training for the homeless to reduce the revolving door. He says jailing more people is not the solution. He says the County has both jails and health services. He says South County should have facilities to ensure they do their fair share.

8:08 PM: Santana asks about preventative health services, particularly for immigrants.

Nguyen says CalOptima has 338,000 members, with Anaheim, Santa Ana, and Garden Grove home to the largest share of members. She says there needs to be more affordable health care, so people can use more of their income spending in cities, generating revenue. She speaks of her work that contributes to expanding health care access. She claims, “I could literally solve this problem.”

Contreras says there needs to be a Latino on the CalOptima Board, as there are none now. He notes 42% of the CalOptima population are Latinos, and there needs to be more cultural sensitivity from CalOptima.

Pulido wants more nonprofit organizations to help people navigate the labyrinth systems of government health programs. He argues nonprofits are being blocked by CalOptima because the latter argues the nonprofits are trying to do CalOptima’s job. He speaks of various services provided by nonprofits. He says responsibility is to the community, not to turf wars.

8:14 PM: Santana notes that Central County has the least open space aned asks what candidates would do to rectify it.

Pulido says Santa Ana is the 4th most dense city in the country. He calls for more programming because people can’t be kicked out to make open space. He argues County park money could be used to bring services to City or School facilities. He points to schools in Santa Ana that are converted into parks after school lets out for the day or the weekend.

Contreras values open space having grown up in a one-bedroom apartment. He calls for investing in existing parks and opening pocket parks. He calls for school playgrounds to be open in off-hours.

Nguyen calls for better coordination of the “branches of government:” federal, state, county, and city. She has the most Latino district in her city. She points to ways Garden Grove has innovated to bring people to parks. She speaks of programs in Garden Grove that temporarily close streets for temporary parks on select occasions.

8:20 PM: An audience question from a group called Rise Up Willowick notes 1% of Garden Grove and 4% of Santa Ana are open space versus 25% of Irvine. She asks about using OC Parks money in relation to Willowick Golf Course.

Contreras helped create the Mendez v. Westminster trail and park. He says OC Parks money should be used to make Willowick a County park.

Nguyen says she is restricted from going detail because of closed session on this issue since Garden Grove owns Willowick. She says the County has plenty of money for parks that needs to be used in District 1.

Pulido notes Garden Grove owns Willowick, yet it’s located in Santa Ana. He says there is litigation involving Willowick and ultimately, a judge controls its fate. He appoints to the new Surplus Land Act amendments that just came into law on January 1. He calls for more affordable housing and notes Santa Ana has more than any other city in OC.

8:25 PM: Santana begins the lightning round of yes/no answers.

Would you support transferring certain county land to private land trusts?

All say yes.

Would you support building a County Library in District 1.

All say yes.

Do you support an alternative to policing for youth?

All say yes.

Who are you supporting for President?

Nguyen: Undecided, but not Trump

Contreras: Undecided, but leaning Sanders

Pulido: Undecided, but not Trump. He’s worked with Biden and Bloomberg. He praises them, Warren, and Sanders, as well as Buttigieg, who he met at Conferences of Mayors.

Would you accept endorsements from police unions or the Sheriff’s deputies union?

Nguyen: Not sought them in this race.

Contreras: Had police union support in past.

Pulido: Had police union support in past but notes Do has Sheriff’s deputies’ union support.

Do you support a $15 minimum wage?

All say yes.

Do you support the Poseidon desalination plant?

Nguyen and Pulido say no.

Nguyen wants to ascertain the environmental impacts.

Pulido notes there are better plans for increasing the water supply and jobs that are more effective than the Poseidon plan.

Contreras says yes because he believes in expanding the water supply. He wants to ensure any such plan does not have an adverse impact on communities of color.

Do you support rent control?

Nguyen says yes.

Contreras says it’s already law.

Pulido says no.

Do you support a bond to raise $2.2 billion for housing?

All say yes.

Would you support a feasibility study to connect JWA with ARTIC and ONT?

Pulido says the study’s already been done, pointing to CenterLine.

Nguyen and Contreras don’t have enough info.

Would you support the Irvine energy JPA?

All say yes.

Would you support increasing government whistleblower protection?

All say yes.

Nguyen says they need to figure out what to do when whistleblower helped cause problem.

Would you put more County homeless shelter beds in Santa Ana?

All say no.

Would you support increasing the Board of Supervisors to 7 members?

All say yes.

Do you support abolishing ICE?

All say yes.

Do you support immigration reform?

All say yes.

Do you support the Proposition 13 school bond on the March 3 ballot?

Nguyen is still researching it.

Contreras describes a different ballot measure.

Pulido is still researching it.

8:38 PM: Santana announces closing statements.

Contreras thanks audience. He says half the voters don’t know anything about the Board of Supervisors. He says there is no knight in shining armor who will fix everything. His experience in City government and the school district have prepared him for the Board. He works at United Way on many of the issues he argues the County should be working on. He says there should be representation from someone who actually lives in the district. He knows what it is like to be on the losing end of a 4-1 vote but still speak for the community.

Nguyen asks to receive the sword to go to the Board. She speaks of change and leadership and notes she is the only one who isn’t a career politician, as Contreras and Pulido have had a combined 45 years in office. She is accessible to constituents by cell phone and social media. She works hard on Council.

Pulido thanks Santana and the audience. He says Do doesn’t live in the First District. Pulido speaks out his deep roots in the community since he was 13. He speaks of dramatically lowering the crime rate, the safest city in America of its size. He speaks of a low 3% unemployment rate. He speaks of building schools. He says the County is not engaged and needs to work with cities. He has the will, experience, and vision, he says. He speaks out his experience at OCTA and getting them to vote for the Santa Ana streetcar.

8:45 PM: Santana thanks the candidates, hosts, and audience. The debate is concluded.

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