Does Do’s win over Correa Mean Santa Ana Lacks Clout?

Senator Lou Correa

Senator Lou Correa

Andrew Do has been sworn in to Janet Nguyen’s old seat as First District Supervisor on the heels of a 43 vote margin of victory over former State Senator Lou Correa.  It’s a win for Little Saigon, Orange County’s Asian Community which has a majority on the County BoS, and State Senator Janet Nguyen who is reshaping Orange County politics in what should be a Democratic district.

Less than 23% of the registered voters bothered to vote in this election.  From the press release from the ROV:

Total turnout from the election was 22.6% with 19% of voters casting their ballot by mail and 3.5% of voters voting in their polling place. In the 2007 First District Special Election overall turnout was 22.4%, vote-by-mail voting was 17.3% and polling place voting was 5.1%.

With the results of the November election and this special election, you might say the big losers here are Correa and former Assembly representative Jose Solorio.  There’s plenty of whispering that both men were not served well by their campaign consultants and followed some bad advice from those who overpromised voter registration efforts and GOTV drives, but the problem might be bigger than that.  It’s almost as if the large Latino voting base in Santa Ana just didn’t care enough to turn out in force.

It appears that Democratic Vietnamese voters stuck with Lou.  The OC Labor Fed did their job and got people to the polls for Lou.  Latino voters in Santa Ana just didn’t come out (and some even seemed unaware of that the special election was going on).

Solorio loses to Nguyen for Correa’s old State Senate seat; voter turnout in Santa Ana is terrible. In 2010, Santa Ana voters failed to propel Julio Perez or Michele Martinez into the top two in the AD-69 race won easily by Tom Daly of Anaheim on the strength of great voter turnout in Anaheim (Daly did better than all the Democratic Latino/Latina candidates on the ballot).  Had it been a shoot-out between Do and Correa, Do would have gotten the lion’s share of Republican Chris Phan’s votes and the margin of victory likely much higher.  In the last Anaheim city election, Latino voters failed to propel Dr. Jose Moreno to the city council. Even if voters confused Dr. Moreno with Republican Jose “Joe” Moreno, the combined votes of both men where still well short.  Latinos could elect Latinos, but they haven’t.

In speaking with a Democratic political consultant earlier this week, it’s high time to find out why Latino voters tend to sit out elections during non-presidential years.  Rather than the DPOC funding a possible expensive recount of the Do-Correa election, with scare money and scare resources, perhaps it’s more homework that’s needed in the form of focus groups to learn what obstacles exist to getting Latino voters to the polls. If the DPOC is going to shell out money in the wake of Do-Correa, it should be to find out why Latino voters don’t vote in elections, and what can be done to get them to the polls or vote by mail.

Is it a lack of knowledge of a special election or the candidates running for office?  If some of these working class voters can’t get to the polls, should they be taught/shown how to get and properly complete an absentee ballot?  Do GOTV efforts require Uber-like ride share services to get voters to the polls?

Aside from the all-Latino Santa Ana City Council, Santa Ana’s next highest office holder of Latina heritage is Loretta Sanchez in Congress.  That’s it.  Santa Ana, which should have significant political clout in country and statewide offices, has practically none.

So how can this trend change?  I’m open to your suggestions.


In chatting with Republicans at last week’s Drinking Liberally at Skosh Monahan’s, we asked about Chris Phan’s future in the OC GOP.  The answer came back “what future?”  At the time, the race was not yet decided and it was highly possible Correa could have squeaked by.  Republicans said that without Phan in the race, Do wins going away based on Viet voter turnout.  Phan can likely count on next to no GOP support in future runs for office.

  7 comments for “Does Do’s win over Correa Mean Santa Ana Lacks Clout?

  1. Lan
    February 2, 2015 at 6:36 pm

    His name is Chris Phan, not Chris Pham.

  2. February 2, 2015 at 6:38 pm

    Santa Ana hasn’t had clout since the Memphis closed.

  3. Editorial Staff
    February 3, 2015 at 6:56 am

    Correa has requested a recount.
    Neal Kelly announced First District recount request

  4. Paco Barragán
    February 3, 2015 at 10:44 am

    Voters need to be informed, and they need to be passionate about their representatives.

    I think that many Latino voters in Santa Ana and Anaheim are seeing “too much” emphasis on Public Safety/Security and not enough on the other “bread and butter” issues such as real credible and sustained focus on job creation and education.
    I think that because of that they may be staying home because of “voto de castigo” . . . punishment at the polls by staying home.

    By the way, in my opinion, I think in Santa Ana and Anaheim, we do in fact have a great non-Latino “Latino” representative in the 69th Assembly District, in Assemblyman Tom Daly. He has been very effective for the district in various areas that matter to constituents of the 69th AD.

    Paco Barragán CPA, CIA

  5. February 4, 2015 at 10:51 am

    Despite their numbers, eligible Latino voters are less likely to cast ballots, according to a 2014 study by the California Civic Engagement Project at UC Davis’ Center for Regional Change.

    “It’s not because they don’t care or are apathetic. They are not brought into the process,” said Mindy Romero, director of the project. “But there’s a huge potential … if they are mobilized.”

    Romero listed several reasons why Latinos tend to vote less than other groups: They are less familiar with the process and there’s less outreach – because they’re seen as less likely to vote.

    Roger Salazar, a Democratic consultant in Sacramento, said low voter turn out among Latinos “is a great cause for concern.”

    “We have to figure out a way to get them out to vote so they can be better represented in the future,” Salazar said.

  6. Leo Castenada
    February 10, 2015 at 5:50 pm

    In a word YES.

    Exemplified by the move by the DPOC HQ to Orange, Santa Ana’s political base has proved to be a one trick pony: LATINOS.
    They can not get the small number of voters there to actually go to the polls let alone participate in community activism. This the city that has elected Miguel Pulido repeatedly, Michelle Martinez, David Benavides and the miserable Roman Renya too.

    The problem as I see it (as a parent, voter, taxpayer and Democrat is that this has created open season for the “poverty pimps” like Chicanos United, SaCRED and Latino Health Access. None of whom provide ANY lasting reform to this blighted, educationally and economically challenged city.

    Jose Solorio and Lou Correa got beat by under funded asian candidates. Ask why?
    Some will say unfair districts, some cry foul the reality is Santa Ana is not the “power house” people like to point to. They simply are too weak to do the heavy lifting.

    I am out……

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