It appears that the vultures are already circling in the 34th State Senate District where Democrat Jose Solorio got blown out in this month’s Open Primary by Republican Janet Nguyen. It wasn’t close but Solorio will now advance to the November runoff – and no one at this point thinks he has a chance to win. The politicians have taken note of the blood in the water and at least one of them, Garden Grove Councilman Chris Phan, a Republican, is telling everyone that he is all in. The special election to replace Nguyen after she packs her bags for Sacramento will be held in February of next year and it will be a winner take all election – no runoff! Given the poor Latino turnout during the Open Primary you have to figure that Phan is now the leading candidate to replace Nguyen particularly since she apparently redistricted Lou Correa right out of the First District! So who else might run in February? I expect that perhaps one or two of the Santa Ana Council Members might do so but remember that several of them are up for re-election in November including Sal Tinajero, Miguel Pulido, Michele Martinez and David Benavides. And another one, Roman Reyna, will be busy losing to Pulido in this year’s Mayoral contest. So will any of them really have the “fire in the belly” to run yet again in February? Perhaps a former Santa Ana Councilman might jump into this race. Solorio won’t have anything better to do next February, will he? Plus the Santa Ana delegation has a distinct disadvantage in that the redistricting that Nguyen put in place includes most of Little Saigon – and Vietnamese voters vote while Latino voters just don’t seem to be all that enthused about voting. There are a few Council Members in Westminster who might be interested in running, such as the Mayor, Tri Ta, but they are just as likely to line up behind Phan.
Then there is Tyler Diep, who is currently running to get back onto the Westminster City Council. If he wins a Council seat will he then turn around and run for the First District? The Council Member Diep wants to unseat, Diana Carey, is a Democrat that might have designs to run for the First District herself. Her fellow Democrat on the Westminster City Council, Sergio Contreras, might also have Supervisorial ambitions. There are also a few school board members who could have an interest in running for the First District, including:
- Lan Quoc Nguyen, Garden Grove Unified School Board (Republican)
- Bao Nguyen, Garden Grove Unified School Board (Democrat)
I don’t expect anyone from Fountain Valley to run as only a portion of that city is in the First District.
What about Van Tran? A friend just reminded me that Tran has nothing better to do now that he has been blown out of the Board of Equalization race. But will Tran risk splitting the Vietnamese vote and allowing a Democrat to sneak in?
Make no mistake about it. The race to replace Janet Nguyen next year will feature a lot of candidates and will be a real blood bath.