The following commentary originally appeared in the LA Progressive blog on September 21, 2010. The Author, Nyabnigi Kuti,Â requested that we share it with our readers.
Orange County is one of the most pivotal electoral battlegrounds in the nation as Democrats struggle to maintain majorities in the State Assembly and Congress. Despite minimal support from the Democratic Party leadership, Orange County has great potential to fare well in the November elections. The Obama 2008 campaign did better in Orange County than any other Democratic presidential candidate in history, raising eyebrows among some party activists.
Orange County has the second largest number of registered Democrats in the state and holds six congressional seats. Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez is the only Democrat among the six; Republicans hold the other five seats. An â€œIndependentâ€ Latina and a corrupt State Assemblyman, both backed by Republicans, are posing a challenge to her. Congresswoman Sanchez has strong union support.
The Bill Hedrick campaign is in the Southern end of Orange County. His congressional district also includes Riverside County, another Republican stronghold that Obama 2008 did well in. The Progressive Change Campaign Committee, Progressive Democrats Of America and Democracy For America (DFA) endorse and provide support to his campaign. He almost beat the â€œKing Of Earmarksâ€, incumbent Ken Calvert in 2008, with virtually no Democratic Party support and a small campaign. Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington named Calvert as one of the 15 most corrupt members of Congress. Bill is highly competitive this time around and has a great chance of flipping this district.
The campaigns of Beth Krom for Congressand Melissa Fox for Assembly share much of the same area. Krom has won five elections in Irvine in ten years, twice as Mayor, and is now taking on car-dealer heir incumbent John Campbell. In 2009, several watchdog groups accused Campbell of taking $170,000 in campaign contributions (as well as $600,000 to $6,000,000 in rent) from used car dealers. Campbell introduced legislation exempting them from consumer protection laws. Kromâ€™s strong campaign won the National Grassroots All Star contest from DFA this year. Irvine, Kromâ€™s political base, has consistently elected a progressive majority to their City Council.
Melissa FoxÂ is running in an assembly district that Obama carried by almost 9,000 votes. She is a California DFA Allstar, and won her primary by three-to-one over a previous candidate. She is running in an open seat against a Tea Party Republican who narrowly beat three moderate Republicans in the primary. Phu NguyenÂ is also running a great campaign in an open seat in the 68th ad and has influential endorsements from LA Dems.
Originally from Chicago, Nyabingi Kuti worked in the music industry as a sound engineer and producer for 15 years. His political background covers a range of Democratic Party campaigns, from Jesse Jackson for President in the 1990â€²s to Mike Gatto for State Assembly currently. He is a member of Progressive Democrats Of America â€“ LA and very supportive of the plight of the Palestinians. He administers a website â€“ http://kristalball.com â€“ which features video content that covers politics, African culture and music. He has also written two feature screenplays.