Votes are still being counted from last week’s election and yesterday’s fresh batch of results moved some pieces around on the election chessboard.
Notably, Garden Grove mayor Bao Nguyen has moved into second place in the race for CD-46 opening up a 578 vote lead over Republican Bob Peterson. We’ll note it still places Nguyen, who doesn’t live in the District, nearly 22,000 votes behind Lou Correa. If Nguyen prevails, Correa’s would likely attract votes from even Republicans in the District who don’t want to blank the race in addition to the strong coalition of Democratic voters Correa secured on Primary night. Nguyen, the only candidate to back Bernie Sanders for president, can rely on crossover support from Joe Dunn’s voters but since there’s such a black mark for candidates who run as “carpetbaggers” in OC, it’s going to be interesting to watch the political gymnastics of politicos who rail against carpetbagging come out for Nguyen.
Some Dunn campaign supporters savaged Nguyen on social media on election day for pushing a “dishonest” election poll showing he had vaulted into second place. And while they were right abut the small sampling of the poll, Nguyen is proving right on the result. If Nguyen is the certified second place finisher, this “campaign between friends” moves to a different set of friends and its doubtful that the Dunn progressives will be particularly welcomed in the Nguyen camp (without some significant and apologetic groveling).
Santa Ana council member Michelle Martinez had a much bigger jump and now leads Supervisor Andrew Do by 853 votes. Pundits point out Garden Grove council member Phat Bui scored about 15% of the vote and that will likely do to Do in the November general election, but Latino voters will be out in force in November to vote against Donald Trump and that’s going to favor Martinez.
Lastly, I’m not sure whether to groan or cheer this news, but Irvine Mayor Steven Choi has a small advantage over former Anaheim council member Harry Sidhu of about 120 votes. If Choi makes it to the top two, he’s done in Irvine. And it’s likely FivePoint will push Don Wagner to run as a reluctant candidate. Sources are telling TheLiberalOC that Wagner views the mayor’s job as a step down and Wagner would have to contend with fellow Republican Gang Chen taking the majority of Irvine’s Chinese-American vote, leaving Democrat Mary Ann Gaido in an excellent spot to capitalize on strong Democratic turnout for Hillary Clinton. But back to AD-68, Democrat Sean Panahi is just getting stronger, pulling in nearly a third of the vote.
While Republicans do hold a significant voter registration lead in this district, neither Sidhu or Choi are particularly well-liked outside of their home bases and a number of Republicans are digusted with Trump at the top of the ticket and are likely to just stay home this year. Panahi is not quite the sacrificial lamb others have made him out to be. Oh, and the Brian “He can win it” Chuchua campaign is second to last with just over 4,000 votes. Time to stick a fork in the notion Mr. Chuchua is as popular as some bloggers say he is.