OC Political

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Posts Tagged ‘Robert Bao Nguyen’

1st District Chaos: Garden Grove Councilman Phat Bui Pulls Papers to Challenge Andrew Do

Posted by Chris Nguyen on March 4, 2016

Andrew Do, Michele Martinez, Steve Rocco, and Phat Bui

Supervisor Andrew Do (R-Westminster), Councilwoman Michele Martinez (D-Santa Ana), Steve Rocco (NPP-Santa Ana), and Councilman Phat Bui (R-Garden Grove)

Garden Grove Councilman Phat Bui (R) has joined convicted ketchup thief Steve Rocco (NPP) in pulling papers to challenge the re-election bid of Supervisor Andrew Do (R).  Additionally, Santa Ana Councilwoman Michele Martinez (D) and the enigmatic Robert Bao Nguyen have also pulled papers to challenge Do’s re-election bid in the First Supervisorial District, which consists of Santa Ana, Garden Grove, Westminster, Midway City, and northern Fountain Valley.

Bui’s entry into the race had been rumored for days, with Bui himself reportedly seeking support for his race in Sacramento on Wednesday despite the Republican Party’s official endorsement of Do’s re-election.

Bui, who was just elected to the Garden Grove City Council just sixteen months ago with labor union support, is the third member of his council to make a bid for higher office in the last fourteen months, joining Mayor Bao Nguyen (D), who is currently running for the 46th Congressional District but trails former Senator Lou Correa (D) badly in polling, and Councilman Chris Phan (R), who made an ill-fated bid for First District Supervisor against Do and Correa, coming in a distant third.

Bui’s home had displayed signs supporting both Correa and Phan in the 2015 special election for Supervisor that Do had won.

By splitting the Vietnamese-American vote, the Republican vote, and the Garden Grove vote, Republican Bui’s entry into the race substantially increases the risk of forcing a Do-Martinez run-off, which many Democrats hope and many Republicans fear will pull resources away from the re-election bid of Assemblywoman Young Kim (R) against former Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva (D) and the Senate bid of Assemblywoman Ling-Ling Chang (R) against former Irvine Mayor Sukhee Kang (D).

There’s no perfectly analogous race, but these are the four closest I’m aware of:

  • In 2014, there was a five-way race for Auditor-Controller, featuring Orange Treasurer/CPA Eric Woolery (R), Property Tax Director Frank Davies (R), Accountant Mike Dalati (D), Assistant Human Resources Director John Willard (NPP), and Audit Advisor Jim Benuzzi (D).  Woolery won 57%, Davies 17%, Dalati 11%, Willard 7%, and Benuzzi 7%.  Despite not being the incumbent, Woolery managed to avoid a run-off in a five-way race.
  • In 2014, Clerk-Recorder Hugh Nguyen (R) was challenged for re-election by Businesswoman Monica Maddox (R), Capistrano Unified School District Trustee Gary Pritchard (D), and convicted ketchup thief Steve Rocco (NPP).  Nguyen avoided a run-off by winning 61% of the vote to Maddox’s 18%, Pritchard’s 12%, and Rocco’s 8%.
  • In 2010, Public Administrator John Williams (R) was challenged by Superior Court Clerk Colleen Callahan, convicted ketchup thief Steve Rocco (DTS), and Deputy Public Guardian Kevin Vann (D).  Williams avoided a run-off by winning 58% of the vote to Callahan’s 24%, Rocco’s 11%, and Vann’s 7%.
  • In 1998, Supervisor Jim Silva (R) was challenged for re-election by Huntington Beach Councilman Dave Sullivan (R), former Costa Mesa Councilwoman Sandy Genis (R), and a mysterious Ralph Silva.  Jim Silva won 45%, Sullivan 26%, Genis 17%, and Ralph Silva 11%.  In the run-off, Silva defeated Sullivan 56%-44%.

It appears the current Garden Grove Councilmembers are dreaming of replicating the success of their predecessors: in 2012, Phan won the seat that was once held by Do and once held by former State Assemblyman Ken Maddox (R); State Senator Janet Nguyen (R) also previously sat on the Garden Grove City Council (her former seat is now held by Councilman Steve Jones, also a Republican).

Cue my usual Nguyen disclaimer: I am not related to the mysterious Robert Bao Nguyen, Garden Grove Mayor Bao Nguyen, Clerk-Recorder Hugh Nguyen, or State Senator Janet Nguyen.  The last name Nguyen is held by 36% of Vietnamese people.)

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Michele Martinez Pulls Papers for Supervisor, But Warchest Can’t Buy Denny’s Moons Over My Hammy

Posted by Chris Nguyen on February 22, 2016

Andrew Do, Michele Martinez, Steve Rocco

Supervisor Andrew Do (R-Westminster), Councilwoman Michele Martinez (D-Santa Ana), and Steve Rocco (NPP-Santa Ana)

Santa Ana Councilwoman Michele Martinez (D) has joined convicted ketchup thief Steve Rocco (NPP) in pulling papers to challenge the re-election bid of Supervisor Andrew Do (R).  Additionally, the enigmatic Robert Bao Nguyen has also pulled papers to challenge Do’s re-election bid in the First Supervisorial District, which consists of Santa Ana, Garden Grove, Westminster, Midway City, and northern Fountain Valley.

Martinez clearly wasn’t planning a challenge to Do until recently, as she still doesn’t have a campaign account for Supervisor open, and her City Council account had $8.16 in it as of December 31.  No, that’s not a typo: she had eight dollars and sixteen cents.  If she had a campaign meeting at Denny’s, she wouldn’t even be able to buy the $8.99 Moons Over My Hammy with her Council account.  The good news for her is she has no loans or unpaid bills, so she has the $8.16 free and clear.

Even if she is depending on independent expenditures to assist her in a bid against Do, IEs alone cannot power a campaign.  The candidate has to have some funds available.  Additionally, most IEs like to see candidates be able to give themselves self-help before the IEs will intervene, particularly when a challenger is seeking to unseat an incumbent.

Martinez is clearly the Democrats’ last-minute replacement candidate, as Santa Ana Mayor Pro Tem Vince Sarmiento (D) had been exploring a run for Supervisor for quite some time, even opening a campaign committee for Supervisor on January 8 (interestingly, an IE PAC supporting Sarmiento for Supervisor opened on January 7).

By entering the 2016 race against Do, Martinez continues her decade-long streak of alternating between bids for higher office and bids for re-election:

  • In 2006, Martinez won her bid for City Council with 32.6% of the vote in a four-way race, narrowly edging Republican Evangeline Gawronski, who got 30.2% of the vote.
  • In 2008, Martinez made an ill-fated bid to unseat Mayor Miguel Pulido, who crushed her 55.0%-29.3% in a four-way race.
  • In 2010, Martinez was unopposed for re-election.
  • In 2012, Martinez won only 16.7% of the vote for the open 69th Assembly District seat, coming in second-to-last out of five candidates.
  • In 2014, she won 52.0% of the vote in a four-way race in her bid for a third term on the City Council.

Martinez raised $31,108 in her 2014 re-election bid for Council.  Do reported $113,786 cash-on-hand at the end of 2015.  Rocco has never raised money in any of his numerous bids for office.

Awkwardly, the same day that Martinez pulled papers against Do, CBS 2/KCAL 9 ran a story entitled, “On Average, 1 Shooting Reported Each Day In Santa Ana In 2016.”  It’s safe to assume the campaign of former prosecutor Do will highlight the rising crime in Martinez’s city.

Convicted ketchup thief Steve Rocco, a former Orange Unified School District Trustee, pulled papers in early January and completed filing on Tuesday.  He is running as “Retired Educator/Writer” on the ballot.

Curiously, on Wednesday, the enigmatic Robert Bao Nguyen pulled papers to challenge Do.  It is unclear if he is simply another Rocco-type running, or if there is a more sinister motive behind his candidacy, such as pulling Vietnamese American votes away from Do in an effort to force him into a November run-off against Martinez.  Even the name Robert Bao Nguyen seeks to benefit from the name ID of Garden Grove Mayor Bao Nguyen (D), who is running for Congress in the 46th District, which includes, among other places, Santa Ana and small portions of Garden Grove.

(Cue my usual Nguyen disclaimer: I am not related to the mysterious Robert Bao Nguyen nor Garden Grove Mayor Bao Nguyen.  The last name Nguyen is held by 36% of Vietnamese people.)

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